FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (UA) - The University of Arkansas women's tennis team released its spring schedule today for the 2012-13 season. The spring schedule for the youthful Razorback squad is highlighted by nine home matches and 18 matches against ranked teams, including five teams who finished last year ranked in the top 20.
Arkansas Head coach Michael Hegarty believes that the schedule will provide an excellent opportunity for his team. The Razorbacks will be looking for their sixth consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament.
"Once again, we see our schedule as being a great challenge for us," Hegarty said. "The plan is for us to improve as the season progress to prepare us for the postseason."
The team opens the schedule in Houston, Texas, where they will compete against three different schools. The Razorbacks will face Prairie View A&M, Lamar, and UT - Pan American.
On Jan. 25-27 Arkansas heads to the ITA Kickoff Weekend. The opening match will be against Northwestern, who finished last season No. 12 in the country. With a win, the Razorbacks will face the winner of No. 26 Purdue and No. 32 Washington State. In 2010 the Razorbacks won the ITA Kickoff, including a victory over No. 4 Notre Dame.
The ITA Kickoff starts a tough slate for Arkansas. Starting with the Northwestern match the Razorbacks play seven straight matches against teams that were ranked to conclude last season, and begin a 12 out of 13 match stretch against ranked teams.
February sees the Razorbacks hit the road, with three away matches on consecutive weekends. Arkansas heads to New Haven, Conn., on Feb. 3 to take on Yale, followed by matches at Oklahoma State on Feb. 10 and at Oklahoma on Feb. 17. Arkansas heads home for the season's first matches at the Billingsley Tennis Center on Feb. 22 and 24, as the Razorbacks round out their non-conference schedule with contests against Ohio State and Tulsa.
The Southeastern Conference slate begins on March 1, as Kentucky comes to the Billingsley Tennis Center. Vanderbilt then comes to Fayetteville on March 3. That is followed by the first road trip of SEC play, as the Razorbacks head to last year's No. 11 Alabama and Auburn.
Returning home, the Razorback will face Missouri and Texas A&M for the first time as conference opponents on March 15 and 17. After Spring Break, the Razorbacks travel to Mississippi to face Ole Miss and Mississippi State.
SEC play continues with South Carolina at home on March 29. Following that, the defending back to back national champions Florida come to Fayetteville on March 31.
The final road trip of the conference season begins April 15 in Knoxville, Tenn., against the Lady Vols and is followed by a trip to Athens, Ga., to face last year's No. 6 Georgia Bulldogs. A home match completes the regular season, as Senior Day will be April 13 when the Razorbacks take on LSU.
"We really like this year's schedule," Hegarty said. "Seeing the two new SEC teams at home, and hosting Ohio State is very exciting."
The SEC tournament will be held from April 18-21. This year's tournament will take place in Starkville, Miss., on the campus of Mississippi State University.
For more information about the Razorback women's tennis team, please visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com.
(Copyright 2012 UA Athletic Media Relations)