FAYETTEVILLE The University of Arkansas women’s tennis team is headed to Florida for spring break, but it won’t be beach time as the Lady Razorbacks take on another pair of highly ranked Southeastern Conference opponents this weekend.
Arkansas begins the road swing with sixth-ranked Florida on Friday, March 24, at 4 p.m. central time. The Lady’Backs stay on the east coast with South Carolina on Sunday, March 26, at noon central.
Arkansas, 4-6, took a break from league competition with a pair of road matches against former Southwest Conference foes, Baylor and SMU.
Both remain ITA regional rivals. The higher-ranked Bears kept Arkansas off balance, but the Lady’Backs almost scored an upset at Dallas in a weather-delayed match with the Mustangs.
Hegarty hopes the team learned lessons with the regional matches.
“It is important that we re-enter SEC play with some urgency,” Hegarty said. “We need to make sure we are taking the little steps that will make a big difference in the match.”
While winless in its opening conference matches, Arkansas has faced the upper half of the league in the ITA rankings, which coincides with the SEC Eastern Division teams.
“We’ve shown a lot of progress against the SEC East so far,” Hegarty said. “It’s critical that the players understand that, and build on it as we finish this portion of our schedule.”
After this weekend, Arkansas begins competition against the Western Division of the conference. The Lady’Backs were voted preseason runner-up in the SEC West.
The Friday visit to Florida gives the Lady’Backs a look at the host site for the 2006 SEC Championships in late April.
The Gators are 10-1 overall and 4-0 in SEC matches after defeating Georgia this past Sunday.
South Carolina comes into the Sunday match after hosting LSU on Friday afternoon. The Gamecocks are 9-4 on the spring after defeating Winthrop in a non-conference event last Sunday.
Arkansas returns to Fayetteville to being SEC West action hosting Mississippi State on Friday, March 31.