Dec. 11, 2012
BEAUMONT – The Lamar men’s tennis team will look to build momentum with nine home dates in 2013 before playing host to the Southland Conference Championships at Thompson Family Tennis Center in April.
The spring slate begins with home matches against Alcorn State and future Southland member Incarnate Word on January 26 before hitting the road for Rice on the following day.
“We’ve played Alcorn here in Beaumont almost every year since before I’ve been here,” third-year head coach Scott Shankles said. “They’ve always been gracious to come here, and with Incarnate Word joining the conference next year, I think that’s a good way to start our season. The three teams we’re playing are all different, and with a perennial power in Rice, it offers us a chance to see where we’re at against that kind of competition.”
The Cardinals will host Louisiana on February 2 before spending the rest of the month on the road, taking on Texas Tech and Wichita State in Lubbock, Nevada and UTSA in San Antonio and Tulane and New Orleans in New Orleans.
“February is going to be a very tough month, but I think it’s going to allow us to see if we are true contenders at a national level,” Shankles explained. “Six of the seven opponents have a chance at being nationally ranked, and the whole month of February will let us know if we’re in that caliber.”
LU returns home with matches against Florida A&M and Radford on March 9 and 10, respectively. Following a trip to Hammond, La., to play Youngstown State, the Cards will host Southern Miss and Prairie View A&M.
Lamar closes out March with the longest trip of the season, traveling up to Utah to challenge Utah State and Weber State.
“March is kind of like how February is set up, but it’ll be great to have some home matches to showcase our product to the fans and the community,” Shankles said. “I tried to set up the schedule so it would be comparable to conference season, and I feel like I was able to put some opponents on the schedule that will get us ready for conference season.”
The Cards will look to build momentum in April with conference matches against Oral Roberts, UTPA, Nicholls and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi as well as a non-conference tilt against Jackson State before hosting the SLC tournament, which is set to begin on April 26.
“You obviously want to be playing your best at the end of the year,” Shankles said. “I think playing in Beaumont is going to be a great advantage for us this year. With the way the schedule is set up, we should be ready to compete and play for a chance to get into the NCAA Tournament.”