ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Head Coach Erica Jasper has released the Lobos’ schedule for the upcoming 2014-15 season and it is nothing short of demanding. From hosting several major home events to facing numerous challenging opponents, the University of New Mexico women’s tennis team can expect a busy and exciting year.
The Lobos open the fall tournament season with two different road events. Part of the UNM squad will head to Midland, Texas to compete in the Racquet Club Invitational being held Sept. 12-14. This tournament will feature several regionally and nationally ranked individuals from teams around the country. The remaining Lobos will travel to New Mexico State during that same weekend to participate in the 2014 Aggie Invite. This event allows UNM to get early experience competing against teams from around the region.
The Lobos will then return home to host a match against the U.S. Jr. Fed Cup team on Sept. 19 at the new McKinnon Family Tennis Stadium. The UNM men’s tennis team will square off against the US Jr. Davis cup team that evening joining the women’s squad in hosting the first official event on the new tennis courts.
“This fall we have scheduled some tougher events to prepare for our non-conference season that kicks off in January,” Jasper said. “For the Lobo fans, we have two very special high-level home events this fall that we are excited to host at the McKinnon Family Tennis Stadium. First on September 19th, we will welcome the US Jr. Fed Cup Team, for a special dual match that we will play with our men’s program as they take on the US Jr. Davis Cup team. The USTA team, coached by former world top ten Kathy Rinaldi, will be bringing some of the top juniors in the world to play us in this match; it is a great opportunity for our players to face off against some of the best of the best.”
UNM will continue into the fall season competing against several familiar opponents at the CU Invite at the University of Colorado being held at the end of Sept. and at the Wildcat Invitational hosted by the University of Arizona, Oct. 3-5.
To wrap up the fall schedule, the Lobos will play host to the 2014 USTA/ITA Mountain Regional Championships from Oct. 15-19 at the McKinnon Tennis Stadium as well as at Linda Estes Tennis Complex. The five-day event will showcase over twenty teams competing for a regional title.
“The USTA/ITA Regional Championships is arguably the most important event of the fall for us and we couldn’t be more excited to get to play it at home in front of our fans,” Jasper said.
The regional championships will provide a great opportunity for Lobo fans to come out and support the women’s tennis team before the regular season begins in January.
“Overall our players had a very solid summer of tournaments, so I am excited to continue that momentum into the fall,” Jasper said.
From beginning to end, the Lobos can expect an intense season on the tennis courts as they face several nationally ranked opponents in the non-conference schedule and finish the 2015 season by hosting the Mountain West Championships on their home turf.
UNM kicks off the spring season at the Beach Tennis Invitational in Long Beach, Calif., Jan. 16-18. Other schools participating in the event include Long Beach State, Portland, and Cal State Northridge.
The Lobos will then return to Albuquerque to host nine consecutive home matches, including four matches against opponents that finished the 2014 season nationally ranked. Over the course of two and a half weeks, UNM will battle Kansas who finished the year ranked 74th, South Carolina (No. 26), Houston (No. 38), and North Texas (No. 66). The Lobos lost close matches to both UH and UNT last season.
Also amongst those nine home events are matches against Northern Arizona, Grand Canyon, UTEP, USC-Upstate, and an early conference match against Nevada.
Following the Lobos’ long stretch of home matches is a long stretch of matches on the road. Over a three week time span, UNM will travel to six different schools and face five different opponents who finished last season nationally ranked (including two top-25 teams). It will be an uphill climb as the Lobos take on Denver who finished last season ranked 67th, Colorado (who the Lobos upset last season), Utah (No. 44), BYU (No. 63), Oklahoma (No. 20), and Oklahoma State (No. 21).
UNM will conclude the non-conference season with matches against rival New Mexico State, Tulane, and finally SMU.
“Much like last spring, we have an exceptionally tough non-conference schedule, with a number of nationally ranked programs on deck,” Jasper said.
The Lobos will spend the month of April battling in conference matches. UNM will face Utah State and Boise State at the McKinnon Family Tennis Stadium and then wrap up the regular season with matches at Wyoming, Colorado State, and Air Force.
“We have 12 home matches this spring,” Jasper said. “We believe we have a great home court advantage with our facilities and awesome fans, so it will be exciting to again have a strong schedule here in Albuquerque!”
Last but certainly not least, the Lobos will play host to the MW Championships from April 23-26. Hosting the conference tournament will allow UNM to showcase its new stadium and more importantly, it means a lot of tennis for Lobo fans to come watch.
When all is said and done, Jasper and the Lobos can only hope this difficult schedule will help land them a spot in the 2015 NCAA tournament.
UNM Women’s Tennis 2014-15 Schedule