COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Texas A&M men’s tennis head coach Steve Denton announced the 2013-14 schedule, which includes six tournaments in the fall with hopes of preparing the Aggies for a grueling spring slate in the Southeastern Conference.
“Once again we are proud to have one of the toughest schedules in college tennis,” Texas A&M head coach Steve Denton announced. “We are really excited for the stern test this schedule presents our team as we look to build on last years’ success. Bob (McKinley) and I have challenged our players to come out of the gate faster this fall. There will be fierce competition for the spots in our lineup and these tournaments will give our players opportunities to showcase their talent. This is the time of the year where our players can focus on their fitness and develop confidence in their games.”
The Aggies open the fall season on Sept. 20-22 in Northern California for the Napa Valley Invitational, while other members of the squad travel to the SEC Fall Classic in Nashville. The squads will reconvene the following weekend in Tulsa, Okla., for the ITA All-American, Sept. 28-Oct. 6.
A&M makes its lone home appearance of the fall when it hosts the Conference Challenge on Oct. 11-13 at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center.
Following the homestand, the Maroon and White take the short trip to Waco on Oct. 19-22 for the ITA Texas Regional with the top finishers advancing to the prestigious USTA/ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships, Nov. 7-10, in Flushing New York.
The Aggies are slated to play 24 matches in the spring, with 14 contests coming at the friendly confines of the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center. The schedule includes 17 opponents that were featured in the final Intercollegiate Tennis Association rankings last season, including 12 top-25 teams and five of the top-10.
Texas A&M opens the spring season with home doubleheaders on three consecutive weekends. On Jan. 19, the Aggies face off against Louisiana-Lafayette and UTPA. A&M welcomes UTSA and Lamar Jan. 25 and concludes the six-match homestand the following weekend with SMU and Nicholls State.
The Maroon and White venture outside the Texas border Feb. 7-9 when they travel to duel with Illinois and last season’s national semifinalist, Ohio State. The Aggies will be looking for revenge against the Buckeyes who eliminated A&M in the Sweet 16 at the NCAA Championships.
Texas A&M will host the prestigious ITA Team Indoor Championship in Houston from Feb. 14-17. Last season, the University of Virginia claimed the Indoor Championship on its way to a perfect season, capped off with a victory in the 2013 National Championship match against UCLA.
Following the indoor championships, the Aggies travel north of the border to take on Oklahoma and Tulsa on Feb. 21 and Feb. 23, respectively. Last season, A&M dropped a 5-2 contest to the No. 8 Sooners but downed the 17th-ranked Golden Hurricanes, 5-2.
Texas A&M opens Southeastern Conference action on Feb. 28 when it welcomes Florida to the Mitchell Center. South Carolina ventures to College Station on March 2 to wrap up the Aggies conference-opening homestand. The Maroon and White look to avenge last season’s 4-3 loss to the Gators, as well build upon the 4-1 victory against the Gamecocks.
A&M then hits the road for two consecutive weekends with matches against Kentucky and Vanderbilt on March 7 and 9 and then travels to Arkansas and LSU March 14 and 16. The Aggies went 3-1 against these foes last season, upsetting both the ninth-ranked Wildcats and 15th-ranked Commodores. The lone loss was a gut-wrenching 4-3 decision to the Tigers.
The Aggies take a break from SEC action on March 22 and March 25 when they host TCU and Rice, respectively. A&M defeated both foes by a combined score of 12-2 in 2013.
The final homestretch for the Maroon and White comes against teams that all finished in the top 34 of the rankings. On March 28, A&M welcomes national semifinalist and last season’s SEC champion, Georgia and then on March 30, the Aggies host Tennessee who handed A&M two, 4-3, losses last season. Alabama and Auburn journey to College Station on April 4 and 6, respectively, to conclude the Aggies final homestand of the regular season.
The Aggies travel to the state of Mississippi for matches with Ole Miss and Mississippi State on April 11 and 13 to wrap up the regular season.
The SEC Tournament is scheduled for April 16-20 and will be hosted by Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn.
A&M returns seven letterwinners from last year’s 14th-ranked team that went 19-13 and claimed the SEC West Title on the way to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament. The Aggies advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the 20th consecutive year.