The Nebraska women's tennis program will open the 2013 spring season in the nation's premier early season event as one of 15 hosts of the ITA Division I Kick-off Weekend (Jan. 26-27) at the Nebraska Tennis Center.
The Huskers, who are coming off the best season in school history after posting a 24-5 overall record and a 9-2 Big Ten mark, will play host to Tennessee on Saturday, Jan. 26 at 2 p.m. The match between the Huskers and Volunteers will follow the opening-round match between Notre Dame and Georgia Tech, which will begin at 10 a.m.
Sunday's consolation match will begin at 10 a.m., while the championship match is set for 1 p.m. The winner of the four-team tournament will advance to play in the 2013 ITA National Team Indoor Championships at the the University of Virginia, Feb. 8-11.
The 2013 campaign will mark the first time that Nebraska has been chosen to host the prestigious event. The Huskers finished the 2012 campaign with the highest ITA ranking in school history at No. 16, after advancing to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
NU will return a majority of its top six singles players from the 2011-12 squad, including All-America contender Mary Weatherholt who finished No. 49 in the final ITA Singles Rankings after advancing to the NCAA Singles Championship. Fellow senior-to-be Patricia Veresova (No. 99) also closed the season in the top 100 singles rankings. A third senior-to-be, Stefanie Weinstein, notched 25 singles wins in 2011-12 and teamed with departing senior Madeleine Geibert to finish No. 38 in the final ITA Doubles Rankings.
The Nebraska Tennis Center will be the only site in the tournament to feature four teams that finished in the final ITA top 25. Notre Dame ended the season ranked 19th, while Georgia closed the year at No. 20 and Tennesse 24th. In fact, only three other sites (Northwestern, Baylor, Mississippi) will feature four teams ranked in the final top 50 of the 2012 ITA rankings.
"We are very excited to be serving as a host site for this year's ITA Kick-Off Weekend," Assistant Coach Hayden Perez said. "It is an honor and a privilege that our program earned through our hard work and our team's finish in the 2012 rankings. Our regional will be tough because all four teams finished in the final top 25 this past season. It will be a great challenge to reach the ITA National Indoor Championships, but we hope playing at home can give us an edge we haven't had the past two seasons."
Nebraska will compete in its third consecutive ITA Kick-off Weekend, and the Huskers are 2-0 in first-round matches. In 2012, the Huskers opened the year with a win over then-No. 24 Arkansas in Evanston, Ill., on Jan. 28, before dropping a narrow 4-3 decision to the hosts from then-No. 12 Northwestern on Jan. 29. Nebraska also opened the 2011 season at Northwestern, defeating then-No. 38 Boise State in the first round before falling to the then-No. 20 Wildcats in the championship match.
Nebraska is one of three Big Ten Conference school's chosen among the 15 host sites, joining Northwestern and Michigan. Overall, seven Big Ten teams are among the 60 teams selected for the tournament, including Purdue, Illinois, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
The Huskers' full 2012-13 fall and spring schedule will be announced at a later date.
Courtesy: Nebraska Media Relations