FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Third-year head coach Doug Neagle and the Nova Southeastern University women’s tennis program have released the full 2018-19 women’s tennis schedule, which kicks off with the ITA South Regional Championship in Lakeland, Fla., Sept. 21-24.
“Coach Albers and myself are very excited for this upcoming season,” Neagle said. “We have five new players this year, and they are blending well with our returners. Our goal is to get better every day. We are not circling specific matches and saying we want to win a certain amount of matches, or saying we want to win the conference; but we are most focused on working to win every match and play every match as if it is a championship. If we do this and only focus on the next team ahead, the results will come.”
Following the South Regional Championship, NSU will head south to Miami Shores for the BarryU Invitational, from Nov. 2-4 at the Buccaneer Tennis Center. For the second consecutive season, NSU will then travel to Indian Harbor Beach, Fla. for Florida Tech’s Panther Clay Court Invitational from Nov. 9-11 to round out the fall schedule.
After opening the spring up on the road at Flagler on February 3, the Sharks travel to Valdosta, Ga. for a pair of matches against Valdosta State and 2018 Peach Belt tournament runner-up Georgia College, Feb. 9-10. The GC Bobcats finished last year ranked No. 21 in the final ITA standings.
The Sharks home slate opens on February 17 with a twinbill versus first-year program Florida National and Southeastern, and features nine matches at the NSU Tennis Complex. Also coming to NSU this season, Embry-Riddle (Feb. 23) and No. 20 Rollins (Feb. 24) are part of the early Sunshine State Conference schedule. After five dates on the road in March, the Sharks return home to host Sonoma State out of Northern California. The home schedule closes out with SSC foes No. 13 Florida Southern (March 29), No. 5 Lynn (April 3), the non-conference finale against St. Thomas (April 10) and Senior Day against Eckerd on April 14.
Breaking up the late-February homestand, the Sharks open Sunshine State Conference play on the road at Palm Beach Atlantic on Feb. 21. NSU then begins the month of March with five consecutive contests away from Fort Lauderdale, starting with a March 6 matchup at 2018 NCAA DII Runner-Up West Florida, followed by neutral-site meetings with No. 31 Mississippi College and No. 49 West Alabama in Pensacola on March 8-9. The Sharks will catch Detroit-based No. 40 Wayne State at a neutral court on March 11 at the USTA National Campus in Lake Nona, Fla. before heading back south to face Keiser in West Palm Beach on March 17 to wrap the road swing. The Seahawks finished last season ranked No. 2 in the NAIA Coaches’ Poll.
In SSC play, NSU will face road contests at No. 8 Saint Leo (March 24), No. 39 Tampa (March 25) and No. 26 Florida Tech (March 30). The Sharks wrap the season at two-time defending NCAA DII National Champion Barry on April 16 in Miami Shores.
The Sunshine State Conference has not only been home to the national champion in three of the last five years, there were also four teams in the ITA top 15 last season. The league will continue to provide one of the most challenging conference schedules on the books.
“This is my third year in the SSC, and it is undeniably the toughest DII conference in the country,” Neagle said. “At one point last year, we had four teams in the national top 10, and finished with three teams in that group and another at 13th. Every day we need to improve and practice with purpose. We can’t coast through any practices or matches. Our Sharks are going to work hard and have some fun along the way. Our team has to play loose and fierce. I am a very competitive person and I want to win as bad as anybody, but I also want these young ladies to have a great all-around experience.”
The SSC Championships are scheduled for April 25-27 and returns this season to IMG Academy in Bradenton.
For the full Nova Southeastern women’s tennis schedule, CLICK HERE. To stay up-to-date with the Sharks, follow them on twitter @NSU_WTennis.