WACO, Texas - Baylor women's tennis head coach Joey Scrivano announced the release of his team's 2014-15 schedule on Friday, which is highlighted by hosting duties for the 2015 Big 12 and NCAA Championships.
"What makes this year's schedule so special is that we are hosting the Big 12 and NCAA Championships in the spring," Scrivano said. "Every match and tournament leads up to that, and our schedule is without question the strongest in the nation."
While in past seasons Waco has been home to the first and second rounds of the NCAA Championships, Baylor will host the final 16 teams at the Hurd Tennis Center May 14-19, 2015. After the conclusion of the team competition, the NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships will also take place in Waco, May 20-25.
The Big 12 Championships return to Waco, April 23-26, for the fourth time and the first time since 2011.
Long before the Lady Bears get to the final postseason event of the year, they open their fall schedule on Sept. 12 by hosting the BU H-E-B Kickoff. The event, which will run through Sept. 14, features players from Alabama, Baylor, Texas A&M and USC.
That event is one of three that Baylor will host during the fall season and one of nine events on the fall slate. The next weekend, BU players will be in Coral Gables, Fla., to take part in the Miami Invite, Sept. 19-21. Following that trip to the East Coast, the Lady Bears are scheduled to head west for the Red Rock Open, which is the $50,000 ITF event in Las Vegas, N.V., Sept. 21-28.
As the Red Rock Open is wrapping up, the next event on the fall schedule will be beginning as the Riviera/ITA All-American Championships run Sept. 27-Oct. 5 in Pacific Palisades, Calif. Baylor will host the second event of the fall slate at the Hurd Tennis Center next with the Baylor Invite, Oct. 3-5. Select student-athletes will then make the trek north on Oct. 6-12 for the ITF $25,000 event in Rockhill, S.C.
Baylor will be in Texas for the next two events, starting with USTA/ITA Texas Regional Championships held in Waco, Oct. 16-20. The final ITF tournament of the fall will be the second part of the Texas two-step as Baylor student-athletes compete Oct. 27-Nov. 2 in the $50,000 New Braunfels event.
To close out the fall season, Baylor will travel to the Jack Kramer Club Invite in Rolling Hills, Calif., Oct. 30-Nov. 2.
Overall, the spring dual-match schedule features 27 contests with 16 in Waco and 11 on the road. Eighty-one percent (22 of 27) of Baylor's matches will come against teams, which were ranked at the end of the 2014 season. The 22 ranked foes include 16 top 25 opponents and nine top 15 teams.
"Our fans will have the opportunity to watch some of the most entertaining and competitive NCAA tennis matches in the country," Scrivano said. "We have terrific fan support. It would be a great statement for Baylor Athletics if we broke last season's attendance record. And I know we can do it."
Baylor will begin the spring season with a seven-match homestand. The Lady Bears dive right into difficult matches by welcoming last season's fourth and seventh ranked teams in Georgia and Virginia for matches on Jan. 18 and Jan. 24, respectively.
Following those early season tests, BU will host four matches in three days with doubleheaders on Jan. 30 and Feb. 1. Texas-Pan American and Pittsburgh will be in town first, followed by 25th ranked Tulsa and Incarnate Word. A match a week later against Maryland on Feb. 8 wraps up the season-opening home stretch at the Hurd Tennis Center.
The next 13 matches on the slate are against teams that finished last season No. 53 or higher. BU opens that run at No. 23 Rice on Feb. 13 in Houston, before returning to Waco to face No. 13 Clemson on Feb. 15. A four-match road trip follows that pair of matches, which includes No. 17 Michigan (Feb. 20), No. 11 Vanderbilt (Feb. 22), No. 15 Northwestern (Feb. 27) and No. 37 Ohio State (March 1).
Baylor hosts the defending NCAA champion, UCLA Bruins, at the Hurd Tennis Center on March 7 in the final match before Big 12 play starts.
The Lady Bears open Big 12 Conference play with road contests at No. 21 Oklahoma State and at No. 20 Oklahoma on March 13 and 15, respectively. It is back to nonconference play and back to Waco after that as BU hosts No. 12 Miami on March 17, before making a trip south to College Station for a contest vs. ninth-ranked Texas A&M on March 19.
For a two-match homestand, the Lady Bears continue Big 12 action hosting TCU on March 22, followed by a return trip from the Rice Owls to the Hurd Tennis Center on March 25.
The next three matches on the schedule are Big 12 road contests at West Virginia (March 27), Iowa State (March 29) and Texas Tech (April 4).
A four-match homestand will close out the regular season for BU. First the Aggies make the return trip to Waco on April 8 in the final nonconference match of the season. Baylor hosts No. 22 Texas (April 11), Kansas (April 18) and Kansas State (April 19) to end the regular season.
The postseason begins with the conference championships starting four days later on April 23, followed by the NCAA First and Second Rounds at selected campus sites from May 8-10. The Baylor-hosted NCAA Team and Individual Championships will conclude the year, May 14-25.
As a team, Baylor finished last year ranked No. 14, after compiling a 26-7 record and making the NCAA Round of 16 for the ninth time in the last 10 years. BU earned a top-20 ranking for a 10th-straight season. The Lady Bears were the highest ranked Big 12 team to end the season for the seventh time in the last nine years.
Baylor returns only three letterwinners from the 2013-14 squad, including 2014 All-American doubles player Blair Shakle and 2013 singles and doubles All-American Ema Burgic. Last season's No. 1 singles player, Kiah Generette, is back as well. To that veteran group, Scrivano has added highly touted freshmen Kelley Anderson and Eliza Long as well as North Carolina State transfer Rachael James-Baker.
"Truly, I'm most excited for our players, who will be challenged week in and week out," Scrivano said. "That's how you grow and develop into a champion."
Follow the official Twitter and Instagram accounts of the team: @BaylorWTennis for an inside look with results, photos and stories.