Aug. 14, 2012
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - The University of Tennessee women's tennis team will face off against some of the best teams in the country once again during the 2012-13 season as announced by co-head coaches Mike Patrick and Sonia Hahn-Patrick, Tuesday.
The Lady Vols will take on eight teams ranked in the top-20 of the final 2012 Intercollegiate Tennis Association Poll including the national champion Florida Gators on the road in Gainesville. Tennessee's schedule overall will include 15 teams ranked in the final poll.
"We are excited about this year's schedule," said Mike Patrick. "Our individual events and our non- conference schedule will help us prepare for life in the SEC. Most of our opponents are ranked in the top 50 and many are in the top 25. This exposure to top competition should provide us the competitive edge needed when playing in our league."
The team will open play during the weekend of September 21-23 at the Furman Fall Classic in Greenville, S.C., the first of six events to take part in the fall portion of the schedule.
Following the fall classic, the Lady Vols will take part in the ITA All-American Championship (Oct. 2-7), the USTA/ITA Ohio Valley Regional (Oct. 18-21) and both the USTA/ITA National Indoor Championships (Nov. 8-11) and the Dick Vitale Clay Court Classic (Nov. 9-11) on the road.
The team will host a fall tournament bringing in some tough competition in Kentucky, NC State, and Ohio State to the Tennis Complex from October 26-28.
"For us, we have a really young team," said Sonia Hahn-Patrick, "so the fall is important for our younger players to get experience and be exposed to the level of competition that they are going to have to play in the spring. I think we have a variety of different teams and it is going to be a good sounding board to see where they are and where they are going to be in January."
The spring campaign will begin at the ITA Kickoff in Lincoln, Neb. on January 26 and 27. The Vols will face off against the host team of Nebraska (ranked 16th in the ITA final poll) in day one of competition and will take on either Notre Dame (No. 19) or Georgia Tech (No. 20) on day two.
Tennessee will take a trip to the north where they will take on Michigan (No. 14) on February 1, and Notre Dame on February 3 before returning home to Knoxville to face off against Big Ten opponents Indiana (No. 48) on Feb. 15 and Ohio State (No. 59) on February 17. The Lady Vols will round out the non-conference slate with a trip to Central Florida on Feb. 24.
The team begins its SEC slate with a tough first opponent in Georgia (No. 6) on March 1 in Knoxville. The Bulldogs made it to the NCAA quarterfinals last season. The Georgia match will be followed by Mississippi State on March 8 before heading out to take on South Carolina (No. 31) and current national champs Florida (No. 1) on the road on March 15 and 17 respectively.
The Vols return home to face Kentucky and Vanderbilt (No. 28) on March 22 and 24, return to the road to face off against new SEC opponents in Texas A&M (No. 17) and Missouri (No. 53) on March 29 and 31, come back to Knoxville for a weekend series with Arkansas (No. 37) and LSU (No. 44) on April 5 and 7 and round out the regular season at Alabama (No. 11) and Auburn (No. 73) on April 12 and 14.
The SEC Championships will be held in Starkville, Miss. from April 17-20 while the NCAA hosting rights have been given to the University of Indiana in Urbana, Ill. from May 16-27.
"Each year it is one thing to get to the NCAAs," said Hahn-Patrick, "it is another to progress in it. When you get to post season you just have to take it a match at a time and that is our ultimate goal but there is a lot in between before we get there."