First-year UTEP women’s tennis head coach Roberto Aspillaga announced the 2016 spring schedule on Wednesday. The Miners are taking on four top 75 squads from 2015, including a pair of matches against rival NM State, to highlight the new season.
The ladies will open the 2016 season in Ames against Northern Iowa on Jan. 16 and Iowa State the next day.
“Our schedule is going to give us the opportunity to break into the rankings,” Aspillaga said. “We’re taking on teams that we can beat, but that are in the top 100 in the country. It’s also going to prepare us for the conference tournament at the end of the season. The seeds in the tournament are determined by a national ranking only, so it is important that we play well to receive a good seeding in the tournament so we can go as deep as we can.”
UTEP and NM State are facing each other twice during a season for the first time in 11 years.
“We’re excited to play our rival NM State twice during the season,” Aspillaga said. “We will compete for a trophy for whoever wins the most matches within the two contests. The trophy will stay with the program for a year. It’s going to be fun and it’s a great rivalry.”
The last time the Miners and Aggies met twice during a season came in 2004. The 1991 campaign saw the two programs play four times, while for 10 consecutive seasons (1992-2001) the two schools faced each other twice a year.
UTEP will play at the El Paso Tennis Club seven times, as the home portion of the schedule will start on Jan. 22 against Western New Mexico at11 a.m. The Miners will play a second match that day against a team to be determined at 4 p.m.
After a pair of home matches, the Orange and Blue will play a trio of PAC 12 programs. UTEP will take on Colorado in Albuquerque, N.M. on Jan. 24, while playing at Arizona on Jan. 28 and at Arizona State on Jan. 29. The Wildcats finished no. 66, while the Sun Devils were ranked no. 27 to end the 2015 season.
The Miners will return to the Sun City for a trio of home matches, taking on Abilene Christian on Feb. 19 (3 p.m.); the Wildcats finished 12-6 in 2015. UTEP will host Northern Iowa on Feb. 26 (11 a.m.) and Wyoming on Feb. 28 (11 a.m.). The Cowboys ranked no. 71 to end the 2015 campaign.
The Miners will then play a string of seven road matches, starting at NM State on March 5 (11 a.m.). Also included during the road trip are three Conference USA schools – Florida Atlantic (March 8), FIU (March 11) and UTSA (March 19).
The Miners will return to El Paso to play their second match against the Aggies (11 a.m.), while closing the regular season against New Mexico onApril 16. The Lobos were ranked no. 59 to close the 2015 campaign.
“We have some good matches at home,” Aspillaga said. “We play New Mexico, which was ranked as high in the 30s in the country last year. Wyoming made it to the finals of the Mountain West tournament last year and Abilene Christian finished in the top three in the Southland Conference last year.”
The C-USA Championships will be played at Middle Tennessee April 20–24.
Author: UTEP Athletics