BOWLING GREEN, Ky. - Both the WKU men's and women's tennis teams will spend plenty of time away from Bowling Green in 2012, as the Hilltoppers and Lady Toppers prepare for a difficult road slate entering the spring tennis season.
The Hilltoppers, coming off of a 6-12 season in 2011, play 14 of 17 regular season matches on the road, after having just eight road contests in 2011. WKU went 2-6 away from Bowling Green during those eight matches.
The 2012 schedule features six teams that finished 2011 with a winning record, including a pair of teams that made appearances in a national tournament.
The Hilltoppers open the season in the state of Tennessee, taking on Lipscomb on January 27, and Austin Peay on February 10, starting a string of five consecutive road matches to start the season.
Following a week off, WKU travels to Lindsey Wilson on February 18, then to Morehead, Ky., to take on Morehead State the following day. The Hilltoppers then conclude their five-match road swing with Murray State on February 25, before returning home for the first time in 2012 to host SIU-Edwardsville on March 2.
Before hitting the road for its annual Alabama road swing, WKU will play host to Detroit on March 4. The following day, the Hilltoppers and Lady Toppers will begin play in Huntsville, Ala., taking on host Alabama A&M. WKU will then swing to Florence, Ala., to play North Alabama, before concluding the trip back in Huntsville to take on Alabama-Huntsville.
The Hilltoppers wrap up the season with a pair of trips to Nashville, Tenn., to take on Tennessee State, along with trips to Bellarmine, Cumberland University and Southern Indiana before ending the regular season with a home match against North Alabama.
North Texas will play host to the 2012 Sun Belt Conference Tournament in Denton, Texas, starting on April 19.
The Hilltoppers welcome four newcomers to the 2012 squad, to go along with eight returning letterwinners from last season, losing only Currie Martin, who finished second on the team with eight singles wins in 2011.
WKU will look to build off the success of its young talent, as 25 of the Hilltoppers' 46 singles wins in 2011 were by either freshmen or sophomores. Juniors Lance Freeman and Robert Whitmer return in 2012 after leading the Hilltoppers with nine singles wins each in 2011. Freeman also led WKU in doubles wins, finishing the year with nine alongside Currie Martin.
The Hilltoppers are lead by Director of Tennis Jeff True, who has been a fixture in the WKU tennis ranks over the years. True enters his 26th season at the helm of the men's program, compiling 239 wins over that span. True ranks second all-time in men's wins at WKU and ranks first on the women's side with 103 career wins over 11 seasons guiding the Lady Toppers.