Men's Tennis: Louisiana Announces 2017-18 Schedule
LAFAYETTE – The Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns men's tennis team has officially locked up their schedule for the upcoming 2017-18 season, and in it head coach Mark Jeffrey has given his team a chance to reach high levels of success nationally with a schedule that includes some of the toughest teams in the country.
The Ragin' Cajuns are prepared to enter the season fit and ready to take on the high level of competition that Jeffrey feels his team can handle.
"This is a great and exciting time of the year for our players and coaches," said Jeffrey. "We've had a busy summer to whereby we accomplished some great things. Firstly, Arthur Libaud and Elio Lago had very good summers so we look to those two guys to start the year off strongly."
"Secondly, we hired Luc Godin who worked with us in 2014 when we won the Sun Belt Championship in 2014. And finally, we've had a busy summer raising monies for the Cajun Tennis Classic to be able to give these guys top notch competition for the Fall."
The fall season kicks off with Louisiana hosting the John Breaux Cajun Tennis Classic (Sept. 22-24), where the Cajun's welcome seven teams that finished ranked at the end of last season, including Texas (No. 11), Oklahoma State (No. 15) and LSU (No. 61). It should be an extremely strong field to kick off the season and provide top matches for the fans of Ragin Cajun tennis to enjoy.
Shortly after that they head to the Southern Mississippi Invitational (Sept. 30-Oct. 1) prepared to take on another batch of solid competition. They'll return home for yet another tournament hosted at the Culotta Tennis Center when the Battle On The Bayou kicks off on Oct. 6 ending the next day on Oct. 7.
Finally, the Cajuns will make the short trip to Baton Rouge for the Southern Regionals to wrap up the fall season. "We are also excited about regionals being held in Baton Rouge at LSU," said Jeffrey. "This should give our players a bit of an edge to play their matches in a home like environment."
The spring season starts much like the fall with the Cajuns taking on some of the best competition around.
Immediately off the bat, the Ragin' Cajuns will travel to Tallahassee, Fla., for the Florida State Invitational (Jan. 13-14, 2018) facing both FSU and Georgia State, both of which finished the previous season ranked in the top 45 nationally.
The tough road trip continues in Texas, when the Cajuns travel to Texas Tech (Jan. 19) followed by a visit to Rice on Jan. 21. Both teams finished the previous season ranked in the top 45 with the Red Raiders finishing No. 32 and the Owls finishing at No. 44.
Finally, the Cajuns make one last trip before opening Cajun Courts for the spring season, and that is a highlighted return to Baton Rouge to take on in-state rival LSU (Jan. 23).
Louisiana opens their home schedule with a doubleheader against NAIA opponent Xavier on Jan. 27. The Cajuns then head back on the road visiting UTSA (Feb. 2) and Incarnate Word (Feb. 4).
Following their trip to Texas the Cajuns then head east to face two more schools that finished the previous season ranked when they visit Old Dominion (Feb. 10) and VCU (Feb. 13). The Monarchs finished last season ranked No. 55 and the Rams finished at No. 102.
The Cajuns return to Lafayette and host another doubleheader against Jackson State (Feb. 17) before welcoming another batch of top competition to Cajun Courts.
Three schools will visit Lafayette, those schools being Tennessee Tech (Feb. 23), East Carolina (Feb. 23) and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (Feb. 24). All three-finished ranked in the top 130 to finish the season with the Golden Eagles finishing at No. 95, the Pirates at No. 128 and the Islanders No. 115.
Shortly thereafter the Cajuns head to the HEB Invitational (Mar. 2-3) in Corpus Christi to take on another collection of top schools. The next weekend the Cajuns head to Southern Miss (Mar. 10), yet another team that finished the previous season ranked coming in at No. 100, before heading to New Orleans (Mar. 11) to take on the Privateers.
Louisiana wraps up their home spring home schedule by welcoming UT Rio Grande Valley (Mar. 16) and Abilene Christian (Mar. 23) to Lafayette. Followed by two doubleheaders against Alcorn State (Mar. 25) and Prairie View A&M (Mar. 30).
The Cajuns wrap up their spring season much like they started on the road facing top competition as they travel to Georgia Southern (Apr. 3) and Georgia State (Apr.6). Both schools, not unlike the previous competition that the Cajuns will have faced, finished the season ranked with the Eagles finishing up at No. 114 and the Panthers coming in above the top 45 at No. 42.
This season the Sun Belt Conference tournament will be held in Atlanta, Ga. from Apr. 20-22.
By the time the conference tournament rolls around, with the season they will have just had behind them, the Cajun men will be battle tested and ready to go after a conference title.
QUOTEABLE: (Head Coach Mark Jeffrey):
On John Breaux Cajun Tennis Classic:
"As we look ahead to the Fall Schedule the tournament that sticks out is the John Breaux Cajun Tennis Classic. Now in its fourth year we are looking for a Cajun to make a breakthrough and win the singles or doubles title. Another strong field with some of the top collegiate players in the nation that are coming."
On the Spring Season:
"Moving on to the Spring Season we really start out with a bang playing Florida State and Georgia State possibly at the Florida State Invitational both teams ranked top 31 and 42 in the country. Then taking on 32nd ranked Texas Tech and 44th ranked Rice with LSU at 61st rounding out a tough six-match opener to the season. Mardi Gras week we go out to Virginia and play two tough teams in Old Dominion and VCU. Old Dominion had a great year last defeating five top 50 ranked teams. Both programs have great tradition."
On Hosting Ragin Cajun Spring Invitational:
"Hosting our first Ragin Cajun Spring Invitational with East Carolina, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and Tennessee Tech will be a great opportunity for the fans to catch us against some other very good mid – major schools. East Carolina has always been around top 75, and Tennessee Tech really stepped up last year and had their best year in many years. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi is no stranger to us and we always battle against those guys."
On the HEB Invitational:
"The HEB I think it is time we stepped up and made the jump. We have made the finals for two years out of the past four, so we really would like to go down there and make the next step."
On the Last Two Matches of the Season:
"Playing Georgia State at the end of the season along with Georgia Southern right before conference gives us an idea on where we are within the conference. Georgia State won the conference last year with Georgia Southern losing a close match in the semi-finals to South Alabama."
On the Conference Finals:
"The Conference Finals will be in Atlanta this year so we are looking to make great strides this year and put ourselves in position to compete and do well. I am really excited to start the new season and do everything in our powers to help our guys realize what they need to do, to be able to excel on and off the court."
Men's Tennis Schedule