Utah State men's tennis released its 2018 spring schedule, as announced Tuesday by head coach James Wilson. The Aggies will host eight home matches, and the schedule includes seven opponents that finished the 2017 season ranked by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA).
"The schedule is very challenging, but I feel it is necessary if we want to continue to build upon the success of last season. We will have opportunities throughout to play against some of the nation's elite teams and some of our regional rivals. I feel that our squad will relish those opportunities and make the most of them," Wilson said. "Last year, we did a great job of playing with a chip on our shoulder. This year is different, but I feel that this young group will want to prove it belongs amongst the nation's top teams. Our non-conference schedule is definitely tough, however, it will prepare us for Mountain West play, which will be very difficult as well."
USU opens its season hosting Southern Utah and Idaho State in a doubleheader on Jan. 13, at 10 a.m. MT and 2 p.m., respectively. The Aggie netters then travel to Salt Lake City to face Utah on Jan. 21, at noon. USU heads to Los Angeles, California, for the ITA Kick-Off Weekend to compete against Central Florida on Jan. 27, at 9:30 a.m. Utah State competes the following day against UCLA, which finished the 2017 season ranked No. 5 by the ITA, or UC Davis, depending on results from day one.
The Aggie netters return to Logan to compete against Boise State on Feb. 4, at 11 a.m. USU next faces Texas, which finished 2017 ranked No. 11, in Austin, Texas, on Feb. 9, at 6 p.m. Utah State travels to San Antonio, Texas, to face UTSA on Feb. 11, at 10 a.m. On Feb. 16, the netters head to Provo, Utah, to compete against BYU at 5 p.m. The Aggies then host another doubleheader on Feb. 18, facing UC Irvine and Montana State at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., respectively. USU then takes on Denver in Denver, Colorado, on March 5, at 11 a.m.
Utah State travels to Tampa, Florida, March 9-11, to face Old Dominion, George Washington and South Florida, which finished 2017 ranked No. 23. Following the Florida trip, the Aggies head to San Diego, California, for the San Diego-hosted Spring Invite from March 15-17, where the netters could face Harvard, Memphis, Pepperdine, Rice, San Diego, San Diego State and Texas Tech. Texas Tech, Memphis, Rice and San Diego finished the 2017 season ranked No. 32, No. 36, No. 44 and No. 47, respectively.
Mountain West play begins with the Aggies hosting UNLV on March 24, at 1 p.m. USU then heads back to San Diego on April 1, to take on San Diego State. Utah State returns home to host Nevada and Fresno State on April 6, at 2 p.m., and on April 8, at noon, respectively. The Aggies then face New Mexico in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on April 13, at 5 p.m., before heading to Colorado Springs, Colorado, to take on Air Force on April 15, at noon. The Mountain West Championships will be held in San Diego, California, from April 26-28.
Ashley Springer is a student at Utah State University studying journalism and communication. Springer is an intern with the USU athletic department's media relations.