Dec. 12, 2012
BEAUMONT – Head coach David Wong thinks his women’s tennis team is ready to compete in 2013, and with that in mind, he’s arranged a challenging spring schedule to build momentum towards the Southland Championship, which will be hosted by Lamar at Thompson Family Tennis Center in April.
“I think it’s a very balanced schedule,” Wong explained. “There are five for-sure ranked teams with possibly a couple more, and it’s spread throughout the schedule. I think it’s a good schedule for us and something that will let us see how we measure up. I’m looking forward to the spring season.”
The spring will begin with four consecutive road matches, starting with a pair of non-conference tilts in Houston, taking on Rice on January 18 and then Arkansas two days later.
“Rice and Arkansas are two tough opponents for us, and I think it will be a good early test,” Wong said. “It’s a good opportunity for the girls to compete against bigger schools, and I think it could be a nice indicator of where we’re going to be at this season.”
Following a trip up to Tarleton and North Texas, the Lady Cards will begin the home schedule with a pair of matches against Tyler Junior College on February 10, and then an encounter with Louisiana on February 15.
“Tyler Junior College has always been a top junior college program, and we’ll play them twice so we can get some matches in before conference,” Wong said. “Lafayette is always a good opponent for us, and these are the kind of matches that can help get the girls ready for regular competition.”
Matches against Illinois State and UTEP in El Paso will close out the month, before a home meeting with Arkansas State on March 3. The Southland slate will begin a week later as McNeese State will make the short trek to Beaumont.
“Every school in our conference is getting better, and we need to be ready when conference season gets going,” Wong said. “McNeese has a new coach and a pretty good number one. All of the fall season and the first part of spring is about getting ready for conference.”
The Lady Cards will then hit the toughest stretch of the schedule, playing four matches in six days, beginning with meetings against South Alabama and Troy in Mobile, Ala., and concluding with conference matches at Nicholls and Southeastern Louisiana.
“South Alabama is a nationally-ranked team and Troy could be as well, so it’s going to be a tough trip,” Wong said. “Nicholls and Southeastern are both up-and-coming teams, and the matches definitely won’t be easy.”
Lamar will then play host to three of the last five matches as the Lady Cards will welcome Central Arkansas, Oral Roberts and Stephen F. Austin to town before playing host to the whole conference for the Southland Championships, which are set to begin on April 25.
“We love to play at home,” Wong said. “I think we are pretty strong here, and it’s also nice for our fans to experience something like a conference tournament at home. Conference season is so important, so finishing it at home and then hosting the tournament really gives us a chance to go in with a lot of momentum.”