BUCKHANNON -- The West Virginia Wesleyan men's tennis team begins pursuit of a 10th consecutive NCAA bid with a schedule that features true home matches for the first time since 2013.
Thanks to the completion of the new Bobcat Tennis Complex this fall, Wesleyan will host more than 10 matches on campus beginning in mid-March. The 'Cats will be home for virtually all of April as well, as they entertain key regional and Mountain East Conference foes in their quest for another spot in post-season play.
"It's a great mix of regional, national, and inter-regional ranked opponents that will test our mettle and show us if we have raised the bar with the program," stated head coach Marc Walters.
"We get the best of both worlds, travelling to the Greenbrier Resort, some great venues in New York and the Carolinas, and then finishing out the year on our new courts. We will definitely appreciate the chance to play in front of a home crowd for a change, but it may take some getting used to after all those away matches.
Walters begins his fifth spring at the helm after winning a share of the MEC regular season title last year. The 'Cats return all six starters from a year ago and have multiple impact freshmen who will see playing time in what is by far Walters' deepest team in Buckhannon.
Wesleyan will play three nationally ranked teams, with home dates against Edinboro (No. 47), and neutral site matches with Southern Indiana (No. 35) and Bluefield State (No. 41).
The 'Cats travel to Rochester on Feb. 4 to face Roberts Wesleyan, and Merrimack (Mass.) College comes to town on March 17. Both teams are ranked in the ITA East Region.
Division I Longwood University will meet the Bobcats on Feb. 24 in White Sulpher Springs at the prestigious Greenbrier Resort, as will regional power Bluefield State on March 3.
CIAA Champion Chowan will be part of a spring break swing through the Carolinas as well as a return to Barton College. Chowan and the Bobcats split matches last season, with the Hawks edging the 'Cats 5-3 in the NCAA round of 64.
Including Edinboro and BSU, Wesleyan will play a total of eight ranked Atlantic region foes, After a trip to MEC upstart Fairmont State on March 22, Mercyhurst (Pa.) will visit Wesleyan on April 2, and Shaw University is here on the 8th.
The home slate ends with key MEC showdowns as defending champion West Liberty comes to town on April 13, followed by rival Charleston on the 14. UC, WLSU, and Wesleyan have shared or won all of the titles in the MEC since the conference was formed.
"It's going to be a great test for us, and we are really excited to tear into it," said Walters