WACO, Texas - A total of 26 dual-matches, including 19 vs. ranked opponents, highlight the 2013-14 Baylor women's tennis schedule announced by head coach Joey Scrivano on Friday.
"Year in and year out we play one of the strongest schedules in the nation," Scrivano said. "This spring we will be hosting two Final Four teams, the NCAA runner up, and the SEC and Big Ten champs at home. We're excited to provide our fans an opportunity to watch some of the best collegiate tennis in the nation. We will have to be a highly self-motivated team to have a successful season with this type of schedule. "
Prior to the dual-match season, the Lady Bears are slated to take part in seven fall tournaments, beginning with the Midland Invitational, Sept. 13-15. The following weekend BU student-athletes will play in one of three ITF tournaments on the schedule by competing in qualifying for the $50,000 Party Rock Open in Las Vegas, N.V., Sept. 22-24.
The Riviera/ITA All American Championships in Pacific Palisades, Calif., which run Sept. 28-Oct. 6, will be the first of two ITA tournaments for Baylor. Qualifying at the ITF $25,000 Macon, Ga., tournament will be the next thing up for the Lady Bears on Oct. 6-7.
BU players will then spend two straight weekends in Texas, starting with USTA/ITA Texas Regional Championships held in Fort Worth, Oct. 17-21. The final ITF tournament will be the second part of the Texas two-step as Baylor student-athletes compete in the $50,000 New Braunfels Qualifier, Oct. 27-28.
To close out the fall season, Baylor will travel to the Jack Kramer Club Invite in Rolling Hills, Calif., Nov 7-10.
Baylor will begin its 2014 dual-match season on the road in Honolulu, Hawaii with a match vs. Hawaii on Jan. 11. After that early season trip, BU will open a nine-match homestand by hosting back-to-back doubleheaders. Ohio State and Texas-Pan American will be in town on Jan. 18, followed by Syracuse and Prairie View A&M on Jan. 19.
The matches at the Hurd Tennis Center continue with Penn State on Jan. 25. BU's next 10 matches will be against opponents that were ranked in the top 25 of the ITA's final rankings of 2013.
That difficult stretch starts with Final Four participant Florida coming to Waco on Feb. 1. Rice, ranked No. 22 to end 2013 is in town on Feb. 8 with No. 19 Vanderbilt on the schedule on Feb.15. A day later 12th-ranked Northwestern, which knocked BU out of the 2013 NCAA Championships visits Waco to close out the nine-match homestand.
The Lady Bears then travel to 2013 NCAA runner-up Texas A&M on Feb. 20 in the last match before Big 12 play starts.
Baylor opens Big 12 Conference play with a March 2 home contest vs. 2013 Big 12 co-champion, Texas Tech. It is back to nonconference play and back on the road after that as BU travels to No. 7 UCLA, No. 6 USC and No. 8 Miami, a 2013 Final Four participant, on March 10, 11 and 15, respectively.
The Aggies make a return trip to Waco on March 19 to start a four-match home stretch for the Lady Bears and end the string of top-25 ranked opponents. Big 12 Conference play picks back up for BU with March 21 and 23 matches against West Virginia and Iowa State, respectively.
Baylor faces Memphis on March 27, before starting a four-match road trip. On the road, Baylor tangles with Big 12 foes TCU on April 2, Kansas on April 4 and Kansas State on April 6.
BU's final non-conference match of the year will be at Rice on April 9. The regular season closes out with Big 12 matches against Oklahoma State on April 11, Oklahoma State on April 13 and at Texas on April 19.
The postseason begins with the Big 12 Championships from April 24-27 in Fort Worth, Texas, followed by the NCAA First and Second Rounds at selected campus sites from May 10-12. The NCAA Team and Individual Championships are slated for May 15-26 in Athens, Ga., to conclude the year.
As a team, Baylor finished the year ranked No. 20, after compiling a 17-15 record and making the second round of the NCAA Championships. BU earns a top-20 designation for a ninth-straight season.
The Lady Bears return six letterwinners from the 2013 season, including All-American Ema Burgic. In 2013, Burgic racked up a 25-5 dual-match record and ended the season on a 17-match win streak with all of those contests coming at the No. 1 spot.
Overall, Burgic finished 42-8 on the season and 24-6 against ranked opponents. That win total is the fourth-most in BU history for a single season. The Lukavac, Bosnia & Herzegovina, product was named the Big 12 Player of the Year and the ITA National Player to Watch.
For the latest news on the Baylor women's tennis team follow its official Twitter account: @BaylorWTennis.