GREENWOOD – After making a run to the NCAA Tournament's Round of 16 last season, the Lander men's tennis team returns for another rigorous slate in 2018-19.
"As always, we'll face a challenging schedule," said head coach Brett Simpson, "featuring the defending Division II and NAIA national champions, as well as three other returning top-10 Division II teams. Our goals are high, but seeing this kind of competition will allow us to assess our own strengths and weaknesses as we hope to make a run in the post season."
Lander is participating in the Southern Intercollegiate, Belmont Abbey Invite, ITA Southeast Regional and SC Men's Collegiate Championships during the fall.
In the spring, the Bearcats start off the new year on the road against defending five-time NAIA national champion Georgia Gwinnett on Saturday, Feb. 5. Lander travels to Southern Wesleyan on Feb. 5 before participating in the City of Florence Invitational on Feb. 8-9. The Bearcats wrap up the opening road stretch with a match at Newberry on Feb. 15.
Lander hosts its first home match of the year on Feb. 17 against Johnson C. Smith before welcoming Emmanuel to the Joe Cabri Tennis Center on Feb. 19. Peach Belt Conference play begins with a trip to Georgia College on Feb. 26, followed by a match at Augusta on Mar. 1. The Bearcats then step out of conference play with trips to Saint Leo on Mar. 3, rival Erskine on Mar. 14, and Limestone on Mar. 16.
The Bearcats begin a seven-match home stretch on Mar. 17 against Flagler, the first of four home PBC matches in a row for Lander. USC Aiken comes to Greenwood on Mar. 26, followed by North Georgia on Mar. 30 and Young Harris the following day. Lander hosts North Greenville on Apr. 3 before facing Belmont Abbey on Apr. 5. The Bearcats play their final home match of the regular season on Apr. 6 against Francis Marion.
Lander ends the regular season by traveling to Georgia Southwestern on Apr. 13 and facing defending national champion Columbus State on Apr. 14 in the regular-season finale.
The Bearcats return 12 players from last year's team that finished 22-4 and won a Southeast Regional at home before traveling to Surprise, Ariz. for the Round of 16.