“Certainly our inclusion in the SEC has ensured a competition schedule that is as daunting as any other program,” Joffe said. “I’m very confident that we have the players and talent to negotiate the rigorous schedule. “
Although Joffe will have no seniors on the nine-member squad, the fourth-year Aggie coach returns six of seven players from last year’s team that went 21-7, reached the NCAA round of 16 and finished No. 9 in the final ITA rankings. He also welcomes three highly touted newcomers, including two with NCAA Division I experience.
“My concern is for our team to vastly improve upon -- in contrast to last year --how productive our fall practice, competition and training will go,” said Joffe whose team was injury ridden throughout much of the 2013 fall campaign. “If our ladies can improve skills and get a little stronger and fitter, we ought to be a team that meets all the spring season demands.”
The fall tournament season commences Sept. 12 at the Baylor Invitational in Waco, Texas. The three-day tournament will be played at the Hurd Tennis Center, the site of the 2015 NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Championships, May 15-24.
Select A&M players will then compete against many of the top players in the country at the prestigious Riviera/ITA All-American Championship, which runs Sept. 27-Oct. 4 in Los Angeles and Pacific Palisades, Calif.
The Aggies then return to Waco, Oct. 16-20, to participate in the ITA Texas Regional and compete for a berth into the final tournament of the fall, the USTA/ITA National Indoor Championships, Nov. 6-9, in Flushing, N.Y. Prior to the final national tournament of the fall, A&M will compete in the Jack Kramer Club Invitation in Palos Verdes, Calif., Oct. 31-Nov. 2.
A&M wraps up the individual tournament schedule Jan. 16-18 at the Palm Springs Classic in Palm Springs, Calif. It is the Aggies’ final tune-up as they begin dual match play Jan. 24-25 by hosting North Texas, TCU and Houston in the ITA Kick-Off Weekend at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center. A&M aims to win the two-round tournament for a third consecutive year and thereby earn a berth to the ITA National Team Indoor Championships to be played Feb. 6-9 in Charlottesville, Va.
As a precursor to the national indoor championship, A&M faces 2014 NCAA finalist North Carolina at the Galleria Tennis and Athletic Club in Houston on Feb. 1. A&M stunned the No. 3 Tar Heels in Chapel Hill, N.C., last year during the regular season to record the highest ranked win in school history. UNC, however, would avenge the loss by eliminating the Aggies in the NCAA round of 16.
The Aggies, who last year placed fifth in the SEC with a 10-3 record, open conference play against Tennessee in Knoxville on Feb. 27. A&M will play seven league matches at the friendly confines of the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center, including contests against NCAA semifinalist Florida on March 8 and defending SEC regular-season champion Alabama on March 22.
A&M closes out the regular season at home against Vanderbilt, No. 11 in the 2014 final national rankings, and NCAA participant Kentucky, April 10 and 12, respectively.
The SEC Tournament will be hosted by South Carolina, April 16-19, in Columbia, S.C., with the winner receiving the league’s automatic bid to the 64-team NCAA Championship.
Visit 12thMan.com for more information on Texas A&M women’s tennis. Aggie fans also can keep up to date with the A&M women’s tennis team on Twitter by following @AggieWTEN or on Facebook at Facebook.com/AggieWomensTennis.