DES MOINES, Iowa - Drake men's tennis head coach Davidson Kozlowski has announced a challenging 24-match schedule for 2013 that includes as many as eight teams which qualified for the 2012 NCAA Tournament.
"One of my goals when taking over the program at Drake was to improve the strength of schedule," Kozlowski commented. "Qualifying for the ITA Kickoff Weekend added two matches against nationally-ranked opponents and being able to earn an invitation to the San Diego Spring Classic will provide the team with three additional matches against nationally-ranked opponents. Once we step out of conference play, we have 11 matches scheduled against nationally-ranked squads. On paper, this season's schedule will be one of the more difficult in program history, but the team is excited and ready to embrace the challenge."
The Bulldogs get their spring underway hosting the Missouri Valley Conference Individuals at the Roger Knapp Tennis Center, Jan. 18-20, 2013.
Drake follows with a trip to Malibu, Calif., to compete in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Kick-off Weekend. The Bulldogs open dual-match action versus No. 32 Florida State on Jan. 26, before battling either No. 6 Pepperdine or No. 57 Denver on Jan. 27.
The home campaign commences on Feb. 1 as the Bulldogs host Graceland and UMKC, in the first of four consecutive home matches. The Kangaroos were a 2012 NCAA Tournament participant.
Another challenge awaits when Drake travels to No. 73 Nebraska to battle the Cornhuskers and No. 31 VCU on Feb. 9 and 10, respectively. Both squads qualified for the 2012 NCAA Tournament.
The Bulldogs return to the Roger Knapp Tennis Center for matches on Feb. 16 versus North Dakota and Western Illinois.
Twelve straight road matches follow, including back-to-back contests in Iowa City, Iowa, as Drake battles Western Michigan (Feb. 23) before an in-state show with Iowa on Feb. 27.
The Bulldogs visit Minneapolis, Minn., for consecutives matches against ranked opponents on March 1 and 2, facing No. 36 Minnesota and No. 28 Washington.
Drake encounters a cross-country spring break trip that will see the Bulldogs challenge Stetson (Orlando, Fla.) and No. 51 South Florida (Tampa, Fla.) on March 18 and 19.
Drake then jets west to compete in three contests at the San Diego Spring Classic (March 21-23). The eight-team event includes; No. 24 Harvard, No. 26 San Diego, No. 35 Memphis, Drake, No. 57 Denver, No. 65 San Diego State, No. 75 UAB and Oklahoma State.
The Bulldogs kick off their MVC slate on March 30 visiting Creighton and conclude league play at home against Bradley on April 21.
Drake will attempt to garner its third consecutive MVC Tournament crown when the league title is up for grabs in Wichita, Kan. (April 26-28).
For the Bulldogs' complete schedule click here.