SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Coming off of the most impressive season in program history, the Santa Clara men's tennis squad released its 2012-13 schedule on Thursday. The Broncos, who finished the year at No. 33 in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association's final rankings, are schedule to play in two fall tournaments before opening the spring season against UC Santa Cruz and UC Davis on Jan. 19.
"We are looking forward to our schedule this year coming off a great season in 2012," said Bronco head coach Derek Mills. "After a home doubleheader, we start off at Michigan as part of the ITA Kickoff. That will be a great test for us right off the bat. They are going to be top 10 this year. We will play either Cal or Boise State next. Both are really good. We have really challenged ourselves with this schedule. As you look through the schedule, we are going to host a Big 10 team in Purdue."
Last season, the Broncos set all-time bests in highest national ranking (No. 29 on Mar. 6 2012), the highest ranked doubles team to begin a season, the highest ranked singles player in program history, highest end of season ranking (No. 33) and set the mark for the most wins in program history (22). Additionally, Santa Clara won its first ever NCAA tournament match with a win over then-No. 19 Texas. Santa Clara is currently holding an all-time best in most consecutive weeks in the ITA poll (47 consecutive weeks dating back to Mar. 9, 2010).
The Broncos will prep for the 2013 spring season in two fall tournaments starting Sept. 29. During a nine-day span, Santa Clara will compete at the All-American in Tulsa, Okla. The Broncos will then make a short trip to Moraga, Calif. to compete in the ITA Regional Championships.
After a successful 2011-12 season, the Broncos will play a demanding schedule against some of the nation's most formidable programs. The schedule includes a very competitive ITA Kickoff Weekend in Berkeley, Calif. with a four-team pool that includes Cal, Boise State, Michigan and Santa Clara. All four of the team's finished in the ITA's top-40 in the final standings of 2012. "This will be a real challenge for us in the early going," said Mills.
After their opening weekend and the ITA Kickoff Weekend, the Broncos will go on a four-match road swing that includes two matches in Seattle at Washington, who finished last season at No. 25.
While in Seattle to play Washington, the Broncos have the possibility of meeting Boise State for the second time in less than a month in a neutral match (Santa Clara will play either Boise State or Cal in the second match of the ITA Kickoff Weekend). Last season Santa Clara, who was ranked No. 50 at the time, downed then-No. 48 Boise State at the ITA Kickoff Weekend in Palo Alto, Calif., as the Broncos began a climb into the top-30.
"We are travelling to Washington to play UW and Boise State; and those are important matches for us," added Mills. "Both are really good indoor teams and we expect to play them indoors."
Santa Clara will begin West Coast Conference play at BYU during the second match of a two-match road trip to Utah. After a non-conference bout with Weber State in Ogden, Utah, Santa Clara will battle BYU, who finished at No. 59 in 2012. During the Cougars' first WCC men's tennis match ever last season, Santa Clara edged BYU in a 4-3 victory.
On Mar. 3 against UC Irvine, the Broncos will play their first of eight-straight home matches. The eight consecutive matches at the Degheri Tennis Center will be the longest home stand of the season and includes visits from: Furman, Pacific, Northern Arizona, Purdue, Tulane, Loyola Marymount and Pepperdine.
"We are fortunate enough to play a tough conference vs. Pepperdine, San Diego and BYU among others," said Mills. "The league will also be really strong again this year. There are some other quality matches that will help this team get ready for the NCAA tournament again this year."