OXFORD, Miss. - With the majority of last year's NCAA tournament team returning and the addition of two outstanding players to the roster, the Rebels are excited about the challenging 2012-13 schedule that awaits.
Highlights include 12 home matches, including seven league contests, as well as the first and second rounds of the ITA National Team Indoor. Admission to all home matches is free.
The Rebels return five of the top seven players from last year's team, which earned the program's 14th NCAA appearance and ended the year ranked in the top 25 (No. 18) for the third time in four years.
Leading the way for the Rebels this year is junior All-SEC honoree Caroline Rohde-Moe. She recently captured the Norwegian Championship for the second time in her career. Rohde-Moe ended the 2012 campaign ranked No. 84 in the nation in singles.
Another major contributor returning is junior Vivian Vlaar, who has anchored the lineup for the last two years.
The Rebels also welcome back sophomores Erin Stephens and Julia Jones who both played a significant role as freshmen. Both were named to the SEC All-Freshman Team, while Stephens made the All-SEC second team. Also returning is sophomore Iris Verboven, who played in several matches last year, and Paige Keating. Santa Shumilina (Russia) will be eligible to start competing in the spring, while Swedish standout Marija Milutinovic will begin playing this fall.
The team will kick off the year with eight tournaments beginning with the Duke Fab Four Invitational Sept. 14-16. The fall slate also includes the ITA All-American Championships, ITA Southern Regionals and ITA National National Indoor.
The Rebels will kick off the spring season Jan. 18-20 at the Michigan Invitational in Ann Arbor followed by a match at William & Mary on Jan. 23.
For the first time, Ole Miss will host the ITA Kick-Off Weekend, which serves as the first and second rounds of the National Team Indoor, Jan. 27-28. The winner of both matches advances to the Final 16 Feb. 8-11 in Charlottesville, Va. The Rebels will play Yale in the first round and then either Illinois or Vanderbilt in the second match.
The ITA Kick-Off Weekend serves as the beginning of a seven match home stand, which also includes non-conference matches against Oklahoma State (Feb. 15), Washington (Feb. 17) and Virginia (Feb. 23).
The Rebels have finished inside the top four of the SEC overall standings two of the last three years, and they kick off league play the first weekend in March hosting Alabama and Auburn.
Next, the Rebels hit the road for back-to-back conference weekends at Georgia and Tennessee (March 8/10) followed by at Kentucky and Vanderbilt (March 15/17).
The Rebels close out March with three straight at home, including LSU (March 22), Arkansas (March 24) and Mississippi State (March 29).
The final road trip of the regular season takes the Rebels to two-time defending national champion Florida on April 5 followed by South Carolina in Columbia on April 7.
The Rebels will conclude the regular season at home with new league members Missouri (April 12) and Texas A&M (April 14).
The SEC Championship will be right down the road in Starkville April 17-21, while the NCAA first and second rounds will take place May 10-11 at various sites across the country. The NCAA Final 16 will be held in Champaign, Ill., May 16-21.
"We have a great schedule, with a lot of home matches," head coach Mark Beyers said. "We are very excited about the challenge of playing at William & Mary early and hosting Virginia, Washington, Oklahoma State and the National Team Indoors with Yale, Vanderbilt and Illinois coming here.
"This is in addition to the SEC schedule, which has obviously been expanded with Texas A&M and Missouri. A&M will be one of the best teams in the country. We're looking forward to getting started."
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