CHICAGO, Ill. – The Illinois Tech women's tennis team has released its 2018-19 schedule. It features 23 total regular season team matches, seven home matches at XS Tennis, 10 Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference matches, and another trip to the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Regionals.
"I feel our schedule provides us great competition the beginning and set us up nicely as we enter our first conference season as one of the NACC's strongest teams," said second-year Head Coach Erik Scanlan. "The strong initial competition should allow us to see what we're made of and get our new incoming contributors a chance to see some tough opponents, which benefits us for the conference schedule."
The challenging schedule truly does start immediately, as the Scarlet Hawks will oppose Thomas More College and Millikin Univeristy at Millikin on Saturday, August 25 to open the season. Thomas More was 12-4 last season and finished second in the Presidents' Athletic Conference, while Millikin finished 12-8 overall and down the Scarlet Hawks 6-3 on 2017's opening weekend.
Tech's home schedule opens up the very next weekend, as the Scarlet Hawks will host NAIA's Roosevelt University on Saturday, September 1 at 10:00 a.m. at XS Tennis (5336 S. State St., Chicago, Ill.). Two days later, Tech hosts another NAIA school, Olivet Nazarene, at 10:00 a.m. as well. Also victorious over the Scarlet Hawks last season, ONU finished the year 10-7 overall 7-1 in the in the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference.
Conference play starts on Saturday, September 8, and the Scarlet Hawks will have a tough test to begin the NACC schedule. The Scarlet Hawks will open up against Wisconsin Lutheran before traveling to last year's NACC regular season and tournament champion, Concordia-Wisconsin, later on in the afternoon. Tech opposed WLC last season, downing the NACC Tournament's fifth seed 7-2.
The Scarlet Hawks will play two more conference road contests (at Dominican and Concordia-Chicago on Saturday, September 15) before heading to the ITA Central Regional in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Tech looks to improve off of last year's strong showing at the ITA's, which saw Weronika Halicka reach the quarterfinals in the Singles "A" Draw, while both Halicka and Morgan Colbert combined to be the Doubles Backdraw Champions.
Regular season NACC play resumes on Saturday, September 29, which also begins a five-match homestand for the Scarlet Hawks. Tech hosts last season's NACC Tournament runner-up Edgewood College on the 29th, as well as tournament qualifier MSOE (whom Tech down 9-0 last season). Lakeland College and Marian University will play at Tech on Saturday, October 6 before Aurora University makes its way to XS Tennis on Friday, October 12. Lakeland and Aurora were also victims of Tech defeats in the 2017-18 schedule.
The Scarlet Hawks will then play a conference match at Alverno and a non-conference tilt at North Central College on October 13 before breaking until the Spring. In March and April, the Scarlet Hawks will play at Kalamazoo (March 9), two matches at Augustana (March 31), at North Park (April 7), and two matches at Carthage (April 14). Tech will also play three matches on a spring break trip between March 16 and 23.
March and April's schedule is in preparation of the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference Tournament, which begins with the Quarterfinals on Tuesday, April 30 before the Semifinals and Finals at Nielsen Tennis Stadium in Madison, Wisconsin on May 5. The top six teams in the NACC's conference standings from the Fall will qualify for the Spring Tournament.
With the Scarlet Hawks now full NCAA Division III members and posing a positive 9-8 record in its inaugural season, Scanlan has big expectations for his team's first year in the NACC.
"We are excited to be part of the NACC, honored to be part of Division III, and looking forward to the competition it brings," said Scanlan. "This season provides us with a big opportunity, as any time you have a clear path to a national tournament and set team-oriented goals, it helps to motivate you in those dull times of the off-season."