The Valparaiso men's and women's tennis teams released its respective schedules Thursday.
The men open spring play on Friday, Jan. 22nd at Illinois. The defending Big Ten champions finished the 2014-15 season ranked 11th in the country and return Jared (#12) and Aron (#46) Hiltzik, both ranked in the nation's top 50.
Toledo comes to town the following day for the spring home opener. The Crusaders recorded a 5-2 victory over the Rockets last January in Ohio.
The Brown and Gold will face another Big Ten opponent in January when they head to Madison on the 30th to challenge the Wisconsin Badgers. Valpo will be met with another quick turnaround as Western Michigan visits the Courts of NWI on Sunday, Jan. 31st.
The Crusaders face a challenging corridor of road matches to open February. Butler (Feb. 6), IUPUI (Feb. 8), #40 Louisville (Feb. 12), and #42 Purdue (Feb. 13) will all entertain Valpo before Valentine's Day. Valpo returns home on Feb. 19th to open a very busy weekend. The Crusaders will face Eastern Illinois (Feb. 19), Chicago State (Feb. 20), Olivet Nazarene (Feb. 20), Western Illinois (Feb. 21), and Grace College (Feb. 21) all within a matter of 48 hours.
Valpo will travel east for spring break to take on UMBC (Mar. 2), George Mason (Mar. 4), William & Mary (Mar. 5), and Richmond (Mar. 6) during the first week of March. The final non-league match of the spring sends the Crusaders to Cincinnati to take on Xavier on Mar. 25th.
All seven Horizon League tilts will occur within the month of April. The Crusaders will host Northern Kentucky (Apr. 2) and Wright State (Apr. 3) on back-to-back days before heading north to take on Green Bay (Apr. 9), the defending league champs. UIC will make the short trip over from Chicago on Tax Day. Detroit will host the Brown and Gold on Sunday, Apr. 17th in the Motor City. The Crusaders will close out the regular season versus Youngstown State (Apr. 23) and Cleveland State (Apr. 24).
The women's team opens the spring with its first ten matches away from home.
The Crusaders travel to Western Michigan (Jan. 16) and Bradley (Jan. 30) for their first two contests. First-year head coach Tammy Cecchini and her team are slated to face IUPUI on Valentine's Day in Indianapolis before trekking to Ohio the following weekend for matches against Akron and Morgan State on Feb. 20th and 21st, respectively.
Valpo will fly to Puerto Rico for their spring trip. While in San Juan, the Crusaders will take on Providence (Mar. 3), Sacred Heart (Mar. 6), and East Carolina (Mar. 6).
Once the Crusaders get back on American soil, they'll have three weeks to rest up for non-league matches versus Chicago State (Mar. 29) and the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (Mar. 31).
Valpo hosts Northern Kentucky and Wright State during the first weekend of April. The Brown and Gold will then make their Wisconsin swing trip the following weekend (Green Bay, Apr. 9, Milwaukee, Apr. 10). The Crusaders head north to Michigan for HL tilts against Oakland (Apr. 16) and Detroit (Apr. 17) before concluding the regular season at home versus Youngstown State (Apr. 23) and Cleveland State (Apr. 24).
The 2016 Horizon League Men's and Women's Tennis Championships will be held on the University of Michigan's campus. Tournament play is scheduled for Friday, April 29th through Sunday, May 1st.