MINNEAPOLIS - The University of Minnesota women's tennis team announced its 2014-15 schedule Tuesday afternoon. The Golden Gophers will compete in three team tournaments in the fall and have 25 dual matches on the docket for the spring season. Nine of those matches will come against teams that appeared in the final ITA Rankings of 2013-14 and 14 matches will be played at home.
"We are very excited about the 2014-2015 schedule," said third-year Minnesota head coach Chuck Merzbacher. "It will be a challenging schedule, but certainly this team will be prepared for the upcoming battles."
The 2014-15 campaign begins at the Baseline Tennis Center as the Gophers will welcome Iowa, Iowa State, Northern Iowa, Kentucky, South Dakota, Milwaukee, South Dakota State, Eastern Michigan, Drake, Wisconsin, and North Dakota to the Twin Cities from Sept. 19-21 for the Gopher Invitational.
Following the All-American Championships that go from Sept. 27 to Oct. 5 in Pacific Palisades, Calif., Minnesota's next team tournament will take place at the ITA Central Region Championships in Stillwater, Okla. from Oct. 16-20. The Gophers will cap off the fall at Dartmouth's Big Green Invitational in Hanover, N.H. from Oct. 31-Nov. 2.
Should a member of the team qualify, the USTA/ITA National Indoor Championships will be held in Flushing, N.Y. from Nov. 6-9.
The spring season, which includes 14 non-conference dual meets and 11 Big Ten contests, kicks off Jan. 18 with a pair of matches at the Baseline Tennis Center. The Maroon and Gold will take on Milwaukee and North Dakota.
The schedule continues with the ITA Kick-off Weekend, as the Gophers will open play in Chapel Hill, N.C. against the 2014 NCAA national runner-up, North Carolina. LSU and Boston College will also compete in the event at the same location.
After concluding the month of January with a road match against Oregon Jan. 31, Minnesota continues its season with a trip to Huntington, W.V., where it will face Louisville and Marshall before beginning a seven-match homestand.
In a span of three days from Feb. 20-22, the team will host Drake, Dartmouth, and South Dakota State. The Gophers then clash with Iowa State Feb. 27 before Marquette and Carleton come to town to start the month of March. The homestand ends March 13 with Minnesota's first Big Ten conference match against Border Battle rival Wisconsin.
The team's non-conference slate ends March 16 when it travels to Fort Myers, Fla. to play Florida Gulf Coast for the second-straight season.
Big Ten competition resumes with four-straight road matches to end March. The Gophers will travel to associate head coach Whitney Taney's alma mater, Michigan, and Michigan State before trekking to the East Coast to meet new conference members Rutgers and Maryland. The match between the Gophers and Scarlet Knights will be the teams' first and Minnesota will meet the Terrapins for the sixth time--Minnesota has won three of five all-time meetings, but Maryland won the last time the two teams played in 2002.
The Gophers' next five Big Ten matches come at home as Iowa, Nebraska, Northwestern, Illinois, and Purdue will visit Minneapolis. Minnesota concludes its regular season on the road against Indiana April 19 before heading to the Big Ten Tournament in Lincoln, Neb. the following week.
Ohio State and Penn State are the lone Big Ten teams absent from Minnesota's schedule in 2014-15. The Gophers have faced the Buckeyes every season since 1980-81 and will not see the Nittany Lions in the regular season for the first time since 1990-91.
Minnesota will seek its first NCAA Tournament berth since 2012 after posting its winningest season since 2003 last year, finishing the season ranked 69th.
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