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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- The Penn State women's tennis team has released their 2014-15 schedule. The Nittany Lions have seven tournaments slated for the fall season. The spring schedule features twenty one matches; eight home matches and eleven matches against teams that finished ranked in the Top 75, according to the Intercollegiate Tennis Association. "Every year is a new opportunity and our team is excited to test ourselves against some of the top players and teams in the country," said head coach Chris Cagle. "This year's schedule is designed to do just that, test our team to prepare us for a strong finish to our season." Penn State will compete against seven teams that made the NCAA Tournament with four of those matches being played at home.
Head Coach Chris Cagle begins his first full season as head coach after being named the interim coach in December. The Nittany Lions return with ten players from last season as well as adding five newcomers, including two transfers.
Penn State begins the fall season at the Racquet Club of Midland Invitational on September 12. While some members will be competing in Midland, Texas that weekend others will be playing in the Cissie Leary Invitational at the University of Pennsylvania.
The Nittany Lions will split squad as some student athletes will compete in the ITA All Americans in California from September 26-Ocotober 5 while others will participate at either the Bulldog Invitational at Yale University or the Hokie Invitational at Virginia Tech from October 4-6.
The next major collegiate event for the Nittany Lions is ITA Atlantic Regional from October 16-20 in Charlottesville, Va. The fall season concludes with a trip to Chapel Hill, NC to compete in the Kitty Harrison Invitational hosted by the year ending #3 team in the country, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. "We have added a number of fall tournaments to give our players the opportunity to see great competition and develop their games," said Cagle. "We do want to see our team win matches but we balance that with player development in fall competitions. Finishing our fall schedule at North Carolina will be a great test to see where we stand."
The fall season prepares Penn State for a challenging spring season that includes five matches against ranked non-conference teams. Penn State opens the spring season on January 18 taking on Tulane in Akron, OH. The following weekend the Nittany Lions travel to take on Old Dominion on January 24 in Norfolk, VA and William and Mary in Williamsburg, VA on January 25. The Nittany Lions continue their road matches at Kentucky on Saturday, January 31 in Lexington, KY. The first home match of the season will be a mid week match against in state rival Pittsburgh on Wednesday, February 4.
The first conference opponent is the highest ranked team and reigning Big Ten Champion Northwestern in Evanston, Ill. on February 14. The Wildcats are ranked No. 15. Penn State returns home the following weekend to take on Columbia on February 20 and VCU two days later.
The Nittany Lions travel to Huntington, W.V. to battle Marshall and Utah on February 28 and March 1, respectively. Penn State makes a quick stop back home to take on Illinois March 6 before going back on the road for three more matches.
The last nonconference match will be a Spring Break match against Memphis on March 11 in Memphis, Tenn. From there Penn State will travel to Columbus, Ohio to take on Ohio State on Saturday, March 14.
The Big Ten Conference will be strong again as Penn State will compete against four teams that qualified for the NCAA Tournament. Six Big Ten teams finished in the final ITA rankings. The Nittany Lions will compete on the road against new conference foes Maryland and Rutgers March 21-22.
Penn State will also host Indiana, Purdue, and Michigan State while traveling to Nebraska and Iowa. The Nittany Lions close out the regular season with a home match against No. 17 Michigan, who finished second in the Big Ten Tournament.
The Big Ten Championships are set for April 23-26 in Lincoln, Neb. "Our philosophy is to look to peak later in the year. We always focus on Big Ten matches and the Big Ten Tournament. I know our team is excited to get going! Let's see what we can do."
Check out the Penn State women's tennis team on social media by "liking" them on Facebook and following them on Twitter @PennStateWTEN.