KNOXVILLE - Once again, the University of Tennessee women's tennis team will take on the top competition in the country during the 2013-14 season as announced by co-head coaches Mike Patrick and Sonia Hahn-Patrick, Monday.
The Lady Vols will face nine teams ranked in the top-25 of the final 2013 Intercollegiate Tennis Association Poll including three of the top-5 teams. Tennessee's schedule will include 18 teams ranked in the final poll.
"We are very excited about our schedule and the opportunities that it presents," said co-head coach Mike Patrick. "With a young team it should allow us to grow and compete with the best teams in the country."
The Lady Vols will kick off their schedule with six fall events including their annual Tennessee Fall Invite to take place Friday, October 25 to Sunday, October 27 and features ranked teams NC State, Kentucky and Ohio State.
The season begins, as it did last year, with the Furman Fall Classic in Greenville, S.C. from September 27-29 while some of the Lady Vols will follow that up with a trip to Pacific Palisades, Calif. for the ITA All-American Championship from October 1-6.
The team will head to Memphis for the ITA Regional on the weekend of October 18-22 looking to defend the singles and doubles titles that Kata Szekely and Brynn Boren captured for Tennessee last season.
"Our team is looking forward to playing in the ITA regional in Memphis," said Patrick. "It will be a true test of how our individuals stack up against the best players in our region."
The fall season will conclude with the Tennessee Fall Invite, followed by the 26th annual Roberta Alison Fall Classic in Tuscaloosa from November 1-3 and rounding out with the ITA National Indoor Championship from November 7-10 in New York City.
"As always we have a great spring schedule that highlights early season matches against Big Ten powers Michigan, Indiana and Ohio State," said Patrick. "We have added another top twenty-five opponent in Georgia Tech and of course the SEC schedule in the toughest conference in the country."
"It should provide all we need to get the experience necessary to be ready for post season which starts this year with Missouri hosting their first SEC championship," continued Patrick. "I am sure they will host an excellent event at their new facility. Then on to the NCAA's with Georgia hosting at the final site. Our goal is to get there so our journey starts today."
The spring season begins January 12 as Tennessee State and UNC-Asheville come to Knoxville for a double header.
The Lady Vols will head out on the road to once again to the Virginia Invitational to take on the best of the best before ITA Kick-Off weekend where the Lady Vols travel to Clemson to face 27th-ranked Purdue in the opening round followed by a meeting with either host team and 13th ranked Clemson or 53rd- ranked Virginia Tech. The winner of the regional advances to the ITA National Team Indoor Championships February 7-10.
The Lady Vols will take on Michigan, who finished the 2013 season ranked 10th in the country on February 2 in Knoxville with a Noon start.
After National Team Indoors, the Lady Vols will return home for three-straight home matches first against No. 21 Georgia Tech on February 15 at Noon, followed a doubleheader with Belmont and Chattanooga on February 16 at 11 a.m.
The team will once again take on Ohio State (No. 73) and Indiana (No. 42), but this time on the road, to round out their non-conference slate.
Once again the SEC portion of Tennessee's schedule will begin with Georgia when the Lady Vols head to Athens for a meeting with the Bulldogs, who finished 2013 ranked fifth in the country, on March 1 at Noon.
Two more road matches against Mississippi State and Ole Miss will round out the Lady Vols road trip the weekend of March 7-9.
Tennessee returns home, however, to face the No. 2 team in the country in Florida in Knoxville at 4 p.m. on March 14 followed by a Sunday meeting with No. 34 South Carolina at 1 p.m.
Rivalry weekend is next for the Lady Vols who will face Vanderbilt (No. 19) and Kentucky (No. 48) on the road on March 21 and 23 before returning home for meetings with Missouri and No. 3 Texas A&M to round out March.
April begins with a road trip to LSU and Arkansas on April 4 and 6 and the regular season will conclude with a home weekend as the Lady Vols face No. 25 Auburn followed by a Sunday meeting, and Senior Day, with No. 11 Alabama on April 13.
Missouri will host the SEC Championships for the first time ever from April 16-20 in Columbia. NCAA First and Second rounds will take place from May 9-11 and then the road concludes in Athens, Ga. as UGA hosts the NCAA Championships from May 15-26.