The Lipscomb men’s tennis team lost against the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga on Friday night at the Richland Country Club.

The Bisons (3-4) were able to get the lead at the beginning of the night when they won the doubles point.

In line one, Lipscomb’s Victor Chaw and Pablo Caffarena were the first to finish their set and lost 6-3 to UTC’s Kerim Hyatt and Simon Bustamente.

Jake Penny and Michael Tougher, playing for the Bisons on the third line, won 6-4 in their doubles match against the Mocs’ Jacob Marshall and Pablo Llebeili.

Shortly following, the Bisons’ Jorge Ortegon and Pedro Uribe, in line two, delivered the winning point against Niklas Gerdes and Tomas Rodriguez 7-6. This gave Lipscomb the lead at 1-0.

“I think it was important that line three finally came together,” Lipscomb coach Geoff Hernandez said.

“For Michael to get his first win and Jake to work his way through the injuries and compete, it makes us feel that we’re not just going to win at two lines, but we’re going to win at every line, so I thought [their win] was really big.”

Although the Bisons were off to a good start for themselves, they were unable to keep their lead in singles play.

On the first line, Lipscomb’s Chaw lost both of his sets 6-1 and 6-4 to UTC’s Gerdes, which led the Bisons to losing their lead and setting the score at 1-1.

Uribe, on the fourth line, was able to get the lead back for Lipscomb with a win from his three-set match against Bustamante. Uribe lost the first set 6-3 but fought back and won the next two sets at 6-2.

“I thought [Uribe] played a really good match after he had a good week of training and stuck with it,” Hernandez said. “He took a step up.”

The Bisons were now up 2-1.

However, Lipscomb quickly lost its lead again after the losses of Caffarena, line two, and Ortegon, line three.

Caffarena lost his sets 6-4 and 6-2 against Rodriguez, while Ortegon lost 7-6 and 6-3 against Hyatt.

These losses set the Bisons down at 3-2, which meant that the Mocs were in need of one more singles point to win the match overall.

In line six for Lipscomb was David Skrabut, and he was unable to win his match against Llebeili. Skrabut’s losses of 7-5 and 6-2 set the score for the night, with Lipscomb losing the match at 4-2.

Lipscomb’s Penny played line five and stretched his match out to three sets against Marshall. Penny lost the first set 6-0 but bounced back 6-3 and 6-4, setting the official score at 4-3.

“Our top guys would be the first to admit that that wasn’t their best performance,” Hernandez said. “But they’re going to do better tomorrow.

“There’s obviously room to grow, but I think once we get our team firing, everybody at the same time, we’ll be good. We just have to be better. It’s as simple as that.”

Lipscomb will play against North Dakota at the Richland Country Club on Saturday, Feb. 16 at 5 p.m. CT.

Photo by Russell Vannozzi

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