ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Head Coach Bart Scott has unveiled the Lobos’ schedule for the upcoming 2014-15 season and it’s fitting to say that the University of New Mexico men’s tennis team has a challenging, yet enticing year ahead of them.
UNM opens the fall season with two tournaments on the road. The Lobos first make a stop at the Midland Invitational on Sept. 12 to compete against several ranked individuals. The following weekend, the team travels to Las Cruces, N.M. to face teams from around the region in the 2014 NMSU Invitational.
Also among the Lobos’ fall tournaments are two events hosted by UNM. The team will have the chance to break in the new McKinnon Family Tennis Center when they host the U.S. Junior Davis Cup team on Sept. 19. This gives the Lobos a chance to compete against top junior competitors. Additionally, UNM is hosting the Balloon Fiesta Invite from Oct. 4-6, providing an opportunity for Lobo fans to come support the men’s tennis program in the fall.
To finish off the fall season, the Lobos will head to Las Vegas, Nev. to compete in the USTA/ITA Mountain Regionals. UNM has had players make it to the finals the last four years in a row, so they are certainly hungry for a regional title.
From start to finish, UNM’s spring schedule is packed with tough opponents, a lot of talent, and even a Mountain West Championship on the Lobos’ home turf.
UNM opens the season at the January Kickoff event hosted by the University of Arizona Jan. 16-19. The Lobos started this event last year with UA and UC Irvine and decided to hold the kickoff tournament once again due to its competitive and efficient format that allows the teams to play several matches over the course of a weekend. The 2015 January Kickoff will feature UNM, UA, UC Irvine, and Texas Tech (who finished last season ranked No. 41).
“We play six matches in three days that will test us right out of the gate including our opening match against Texas Tech,” Scott said.
The uphill climb will continue for the Lobos when they travel to the University of Oklahoma the following weekend to compete in the ITA Indoor Kickoff. Taking on the 2014 NCAA runner-up Sooners on OU’s home territory will be a tough match for the Lobos to have early in the season.
Once the Lobos wrap up the spring season kickoff events, they head straight into several more difficult non-conference matches. UNM starts with a match against Texas Christian who finished the 2014 season in the ITA top-50 rankings.
Additional highlights of the Lobos’ non-conference schedule include a home match against Tulsa who completed last season ranked 36th by the ITA, two matches against UNM’s regional rival BYU, and a road match against Utah who finished with a ranking of 56.
"Once again we have a very challenging schedule,” Scott said. “It's well balanced and will challenge our guys from the first match of the season to the last. We open with perennial top 25 Texas Tech. Then we head to Oklahoma to take on the Sooners, last years NCAA finalists. We are also at TCU, and Utah, host Tulsa, and take on BYU twice. All of these teams have, in our opinion, top-25 talent."
And if the Lobos’ non-conference schedule doesn’t challenge their mental and physical toughness enough, UNM is following it up with one of the toughest conference schedules they have ever faced.
"Our league is strong and it's only getting stronger,” Scott said. “Full of hardworking, dedicated coaches and talented players; there are no easy outs. Our guys will have to be ready for every team we face."
UNM hosts Fresno State on March 27 to start Mountain West play and then will hit the road for three matches against Nevada, Boise State, and Utah State. The Broncos, who defeated the Lobos in the MW championship last season, finished their year ranked 29th in the ITA standings.
The Lobos will finish the regular season with matches against the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, San Diego State, Denver, and Air Force.
While juggling one of their toughest schedules so far, UNM will also be preparing to host the 2015 MW Championships being held April 23-26 at the McKinnon Family Tennis Center. It will be four days filled with plenty of tennis for Lobo fans to come watch and will be a great opportunity for UNM to draw attention to the strong tennis program that the Lobos have to offer.
"What a treat to be able to co-host this tournament with the women's tennis team right here at home in Albuquerque at the brand new McKinnon Family Tennis Center,” Scott said. “The road to the championships in April starts Wednesday. We hope to showcase this facility thought the year, but none more important than at the Mountain West Conference Championships in April. We have amazing community support and Lobo Nation is strong. We expect to have a huge turnout for our matches at this even.”
Hosting the conference championship will serve as a great finale to the Lobos’ difficult 2015 schedule, however UNM is hoping that their tough season will provide them with a good opportunity to land a spot in the NCAA tournament.
Coach Scott is hitting the ground running in his first season as head coach as he takes on a tough schedule, plays at a new tennis stadium, and teams up with recently hired assistant coach, Ben Dunbar.
Head to golobos.com to keep up with schedule changes, scores, and updates throughout the season.
Men’s 2014-15 Printable Schedule