Texas A&M and Missouri enter the SEC on July 1, giving the SEC 14 teams in women's tennis. The Aggies, who will be in the Western Division, will play each conference team once, with their inaugural SEC match being played on March 1, 2013, at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center as they play host to South Carolina.
All but two of the 14 teams that will represent the SEC next year are listed in the most recent Intercollegiate Tennis Association's nationally rankings, released on Tuesday, Florida and Georgia are No. 2 and No. 7 respectively, and five other teams are in the Top 25: No. 12 Tennessee, No. 15 Alabama, No. 16 Texas A&M, No. 19 Ole Miss and No. 23 Vanderbilt. South Carolina, Arkansas and LSU are all ranked in the top 50, and Auburn and Missouri are listed in the top 75.
"Certainly in the sport of women's tennis, the SEC, the ACC and the Pac 12 are probably all really strong," A&M head coach Howard Joffe said, "but the SEC is very strong high up, and in terms of its depth there are no weak spots. It will be a huge challenge for us."
In addition to the home opening match against the Gamecocks, A&M will host the Gators on March 3. Other home matches are against Tennessee (March 29), Georgia (March 31), Auburn (April 5) and Alabama (April 7).
A&M will play seven SEC matches on the road: at Vanderbilt (March 8), at Kentucky (March 10), at LSU (March 15), at Arkansas (March 17), at Missouri (March 22), at Mississippi State (April 12) and at Ole Miss (April 14).
"Everywhere we go we are asked if we are scared or if we are excited to join the SEC and so forth," Joffe said. "We are certainly excited because it is certainly a great conference in terms of all of the sports. Competitively our charge is the same: we want to continue to improve and put together a team that can win whatever league we are in and compete against anyone. It is exciting for our girls, especially for those who have been around awhile to get to play some new teams and go to some new places. We are absolutely hungry and excited to be joining the conference next year."
The Aggies are currently 11-1 and riding a record-setting 11-match winning streak. A&M is 2-0 in Big 12 Conference matches and resumes league play Friday, March 30 when the Aggies play host to Kansas State at 6 p.m. at the Mitchell Tennis Center.