Men's Tennis

    Movin' On Up: Lippitt overcomes the odds to make giant leaps

    Go Hoosiers!
    Go Hoosiers!

    Go Hoosiers!
    ="lippitt"> March 4, 1998

    Movin' On Up: Lippitt overcomes the odds to make giant leaps

    "Above all challenge yourself. You may be surprised by what you can achieve."
    --author unknown

    Scott Lippitt He came to Indiana as a walk-on, a star in high school who turned down several scholarship offers from small schools to play on a nationally recognized program. He went 0-15 in challenge matches at practice and played sparingly in the non-conference season. After struggling through his freshman year he wondered what the future would hold, playing on a nationally recognizable team in one of the nations toughest conferences.

    That was Scott Lippitt a mere two season's ago. Lippitt turned down scholarship offers from Santa Clara and UC-Davis, two schools close to his hometown of San Diego, California, to come to Indiana. After being the star of his high school team, he quickly found out that competing at the collegiate level was going to take some getting used to. "It was a big shock coming in," he said. "I was used to winning almost every match in high school, so it was pretty shocking initially. I was confident, though, that after I'd been here a while, I'd get adjusted."

    Lippitt was the 10th player on the roster that season, so he didn't get to travel with the team, and played sparingly when the Hoosiers were at home. Instead of giving up, or transferring to a school where he could play, Lippitt used his lack of playing time as motivation to improve and prepare for next season. "That first season I didn't get to travel at all, and that really got me motivated," he said. "I didn't like staying home while the team went to Florida and what not. "So I practiced really hard and got a lot better my freshman year."

    After struggling through his freshman season, Lippitt decided that he'd give himself one more chance to prove his worth. "I didn't really ever think about not playing, but I told myself that if I had another year like that one then I wouldn't play anymore," Lippitt said. "I realized that my freshman year was an adjustment period for me."

    1996, however, would be a pleasant change for Lippitt. After working hard during his freshman campaign, and training throughout the summer, he entered his sophomore season with much anticipation. A relatively young team with only one senior on the roster, Lippitt saw an opportunity to jump back into the spotlight. "I came back in the fall and won 10 out of the 16 challenge matches and started playing number 5," said Lippitt.

    After dropping his first three matches, Lippitt rebounded to go 28-16 for the season. He went 9-3 in the Big Ten at the five spot and was one of the teams most consistent performers all year long. "Scott came in last year and made some great strides for us. He was 0-15 in challenge matches as a freshman and then rebounded and had a great season for us as a sophomore," said head coach Ken Hydinger.

    Heading into the 1997-1998 season, their was a great sense of excitment surrounding Lippitt. "It will be interesting to see what Scott does for us this year," said Hydinger early in the pre-season. "Does he make another leap at the level he did last year? He's going to make a leap, but how big? It'll be interesting to see what he does this year."

    Leap could be an understatement. Lippitt has emerged as perhaps the teams best player during the young season, leading a youthful and injury plagued team both on and off the court. He has compiled a 12-8 record playing mostly at the number two spot. Lippitt, however, has shown the ability to compete at the top spot as he has filled in admirably on several occasions.

    In a year in which the Big Ten is stronger than it has been in years, Lippitt realizes that his play could determine the success of the Hoosiers in 1998. "The competition is even better this year than it was last year, so I've really got to get better as the season goes on," he said. With such a young team, seven underclassmen dominate the roster, his leadership abilities will also be key. "These guys have a lot of motivation themselves, but (seniors) Derek (Pope), Andrew (Held), and myself just try to pump them up a little bit," Lippitt said. "I'm one of the older ones and I've seen the league before and I just want to try to help them know what to expect."

    He has taken quite a path to the top, probably one that many people couldn't survive. From a walk-on to the teams most consistent performer, Lippitt's dedication to the game is really beginning to show itself. "It's a big change, but it's such a gradual change that I'm not really wowed by it," he said. "I've gotten a lot better since my freshman year. I've been doing ok, but hopefully I'll get used to playing at the top and improve as the year goes on."


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