EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – The SIUE women's tennis teams opens the 2014 season by travelling to Columbia, Mo., to face the Missouri Tigers.
While it will be SIUE's first competition of the 2014 campaign, Missouri will be playing in its second match of the year and second match of the day Monday. The Tigers take on Saint Louis at 11 a.m. followed by SIUE at 5 p.m.
SIUE Head Coach Jason Coomer said the Cougars have to be ready against the Tigers.
"Missouri is a very talented team, and this will be a good opportunity for our women," said Coomer.
The Cougars have been idle since the end of the fall season in October. Coomer said the Cougars have trained hard during the time in between.
"It's obvious our players have put time in on their own during the holidays to prepare for the indoor season," Coomer said.
It also will be a return to the alma mater for SIUE Assistant Coach Amanda Pratzel. She played No. 1 and No. 2 singles for the Tigers, who are now members of the Southeastern Conference, during the 2006-07 season.
"Missouri has a strong program and tradition," Coomer said. "Looking at our schedule, we have several quality opponents with Missouri being right near the top of that list. I can't imagine facing a tougher environment on our schedule."
The youthful Cougars have no seniors on the roster. Coomer said juniors Kali Donner, Haley Ilcewicz, and Lindsey Raymond have stepped up into leadership roles. Combined with three sophomores and two freshmen, the Cougar squad has a balanced lineup.
"If we want to get to the level we know we are capable of, we have to play against some of the best," Coomer said. "We are willing to play anyone, anytime if it's going to be a good opportunity for our players to reach their goals."