No. 12 Mississippi Gulf Coast has a blueprint for success at the NJCAA Division I Men's Tennis Championship already drawn up by their counterparts, the Lady Bulldogs.
"We're pretty much in the same situation the women were in," Gulf Coast coach Gary Bourgeois said. "We didn't play our best the region tournament, so we've got to try to prove we can play with these guys out there. Everybody's fired up because we should have won the championship at Meridian after going undefeated during the regular season."
The Bulldogs finished 16th last year, and they'll look to improve on that and try to match the Lady Bulldogs' 12th-place finish last week.
John Murphy (So, Mobile, Ala./McGill-Toolen) is coming off an MACJC/Region 23 championship at No. 3 singles. He's up for a potential seed in the bracket, and he'll have valuable knowledge gained in last year's trip to the Collin County Tennis Facilities in Plano, Texas.
"I learned about the intensity from the other teams," he said. "That's what helped me out this season. You have to learn to feed off the other players trying to mess you up. That helped me out greatly."
Gulf Coast practiced there for the first time Sunday morning and will have another session in the afternoon. The tournament starts Monday and runs through Friday.
"The competition is very tough out here, and a lot of it depends on the draw," Bourgeois said. "Everybody is really excited by the way the women performed. They don't want to be outdone."
The tournament seeds and first-day schedule will be announced Sunday night. The draws will be available at http://www.tournamentsoftware.com/sport/tournament.aspx?id=F5C370C3-46B6-4ED3-A47F-09A6D92D7F15.
For more information on MGCCC's 10 intercollegiate athletic teams, follow @MGCCCAthletics on Twitter and BulldogLIVE on Facebook, and go to mgcccbulldogs.com.