TUSCALOOSA, Ala.- Coming off its best season since 2003, the Alabama men’s tennis team will face another challenging schedule in 2007-08. The Crimson Tide will face five NCAA teams in its non-conference schedule to get ready for the always competitive Southeastern Conference.
“As always it will be a challenging schedule,” said Alabama head coach Billy Pate. “With the SEC slate along with some tough non-conference matches it will be exciting year for team. We have an experienced squad returning with five seniors and four juniors so I expect them to embrace the competition while building on the positive momentum that we created this past spring.”
The Crimson Tide will begin the fall campaign with a trip to Chicago, Ill. for the Olympia Fields Invitational team event Sept. 14-16. The tournament is played on clay courts, which is unusual for the college atmosphere, and will feature NCAA runner-up Illinois, along with first round pick Miami, and Sweet 16 challengers Notre Dame and Alabama. Following the tournament, the Tide will head to Tulsa, Okla. to compete at the All-Americans and then on to Bradenton, Fl. for the Bollitierri’s Fall Tournament.
After spending the first two months of competition on the road, Alabama will host the Crimson Tide Fall Championships Oct. 26-28 at the University of Alabama. The Crimson Tide will play host to players from across the nation that will compete in an open format. The ITA National Indoor Championships rounds out the fall season Nov.1-4.
The spring campaign opens in unusual fashion with the men’s tennis team heading to Hawaii Jan. 8-9, for the first time in the program’s history, to take on BYU-Hawaii and Hawaii. Next, the team travels back to the mainland for the SEC Indoor Championships Jan.17-21 in New Orleans, La.
The Tide welcomes Southern Miss. and Troy for the season home-opener in a double-header Jan. 26, 2008. The Tide will open with Southern Miss. at 10 a.m., followed by the Troy match at 3 p.m. Alabama will face two more opponents at home the following weekend before they head out west to take on Cal-Irvine Friday, Feb. 8th in Irvine, Calif. and Pepperdine Saturday, Feb. 9th in Malibu, Calif.
Along with the opportunity to travel to Hawaii and California, the Tide has a probable chance to be invited to compete at the National Indoors Feb. 15-18 in Seattle, Wash. Entry to the tournament is contingent on pre-season rankings released in December.
Following the National Indoors, the Tide will return home to play host to Indiana Sunday, Feb. 24 at 1:00 p.m. in its last pre-season match before conference play begins.
Alabama will open SEC play at home against LSU Friday, Feb. 29 at 1 p.m. followed by Arkansas Sunday, March 2 at 1 p.m. The Tide is on the road the following weekend to take on Mississippi State and Ole Miss before heading to Montgomery, Ala. for the prestigious Blue/Gray National. Last year, Alabama made it to the championship match before falling to Notre Dame.
Back in conference action, the Tide faces Kentucky at home before heading on the road to play Vanderbilt. In the bottom half of the conference season, the Tide will host Georgia, the 2007 National Champions, Friday, March 28 at 3 p.m. and then turn around and face Tennessee Sunday, March 30 at 1 p.m.
Alabama then heads on the road for four consecutive matches before hosting in-state foe Auburn in the conference finale. The match is scheduled for April 12 at 5 p.m.
Following the conclusion of the regular season, the Alabama men’s tennis team hopes to make its third consecutive appearance to the NCAA tournament. The 2008 NCAA Division I Men’s Tennis Tournament will be held in Tulsa, Okla. May 15-26.
All home matches are played at the UA Varsity Courts across the street from the Student Recreation Center. In case of bad weather, matches will be moved indoors to the Hank Crisp Indoor Facility adjacent to Coleman Coliseum.