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Oct. 28, 2013
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State women's tennis team has released their 2014 spring schedule, complete with 13 home matches including six against Big Ten opponents. The Nittany Lions will face 13 teams that finished last season ranked in the ITA Team Poll as well as seven programs that were selected to the NCAA Tournament.
Penn State will begin their spring campaign with a double-header at home against Cleveland State and Bucknell on Saturday, Jan. 19, two teams the Nittany Lions have never lost to. They will meet Vikings on the court at Sarni Indoor Tennis Center at 9:30 a.m. before facing the Bucknell Bison at 2 p.m. The Nittany Lions will conclude their opening weekend with a home dual against the U.S. Naval Academy the following day at 2 p.m.
The women's tennis squad will then head to Texas where they'll begin their away schedule when they look for their first win in program history against Baylor in a prime time battle on Saturday, Jan. 25. The two teams first squared off against each other in 1993 before they resumed the rivalry in Hawaii during the 2011-2012 season opening trip.
Penn State will return home to face Kentucky on Saturday, Feb. 1 at 10 a.m. in the newly formed series that began last season. In last year's match that pitted the two teams against each other for the first time, Penn State left Lexington with a hard-fought 4-3 victory. The following weekend the Nittany Lions will face two programs that made last year's NCAA Tournament on the road. They'll meet the College of William & Mary at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 8 before facing Virginia Commonwealth on Sunday. The time for that match has not yet been announced.
On Friday, Feb. 14 Marshall visits Happy Valley for a 6 p.m. matchup with the Nittany Lions. The Nittany Lions will have Saturday off as the Thundering Herd will play Penn on Saturday at 2 p.m. in Sarni Indoor Tennis Center. Penn State will meet their in-state rivals on Sunday at 11 a.m. to close out the weekend.
Penn State will begin their conference schedule when Ohio State comes to town for a mid-week match on Tuesday, Feb. 25 set to start at 4 p.m. The following Sunday the Nittany Lions will play host to the West Virginia Mountaineers at noon.
Women's tennis will head down south over spring break where they'll face South Florida on March 10 and Southern Methodist University on March 11 at noon in Tampa, Fla. The Nittany Lions have met each team only once before having gotten the victory over SMU in 2010 and falling to South Florida in 2009.
Following a nine-day break from dual matches the Nittany Lions will resume Big Ten play when they face the Michigan State Spartans in East Lansing, Mich. at 2 p.m. on Friday, March 21. Penn State has won six of the previous seven matches with the Spartans including the last three. Five of the six Nittany Lions victories finished with the score, 4-3.
Penn State will return home for a match against the Michigan Wolverines two days later on Sunday at 11 a.m. Penn State hasn't knocked off Michigan since 2001 but the Nittany Lions were able to make a splash in last season's contest when Chelsea Utting (Peachtree City, Ga.) and Petra Januskova (Ottawa, Canada) bested the Wolverines' top duo of Emily Bektas and Brooke Bolender who were ranked third in the nation at the time, 9-8 (10-3).
The following weekend the team will travel to Illinois where they'll meet the Fighting Illini on Saturday, March 19 at 11 a.m. before heading to Evanston to face Northwestern on Sunday at 11 a.m. Penn State will look to earn their first ever win against Northwestern and their first win against Illinois since 2007 on the weekend road trip.
Penn State will return home for its longest home stand of the season as they host four consecutive matches in Happy Valley. On Friday, April 4 the Wisconsin Badgers come to town in a match set for 4 p.m. The Nittany Lions will cap of their weekend with a Sunday match against Minnesota at 11 a.m.
Purdue comes in to University Park to face the Nittany Lions in a match set for 3 p.m. on Friday April 11 to kick off the final home weekend of the season for women's tennis. Penn State will close out their home schedule and honor their graduating seniors against Indiana at 11 a.m. on Sunday, April 13. Last season the Nittany Lions topped the Hoosiers 4-3 for their fourth win against Indiana in program history and their first since 2003.
Penn State will close their regular season on the road with a trip to the Midwest. On Friday, April 18 the Nittany Lions will face Nebraska at 3 p.m. The two teams have only met three times prior with the Cornhuskers taking all three victories. The regular season finale will pit the Nittany Lions against the Iowa Hawkeyes in a Sunday matinee. Penn State earned their fourth win ever against the Hawkeyes last season with a dominant 6-1 performance.
The Big Ten Tournament begins four days later on Thursday, April 24 in Evanston, Illinois on the campus of Northwestern. The tournament will run through Sunday when the winner of the Big Ten Conference will be crowned.
If selected, the NCAA Tournament will begin on May 15 and run through the 26th in Athens, Ga. Last season the Nittany Lions sent Utting and Januskova to the doubles tournament, marking the third appearance for the Nittany Lions in NCAA Doubles Tournament history. Penn State has only been selected to the team tournament once in school history, back in 2001.