NORMAL — The Illinois State women’s tennis program will once again be competing after nearly a year away from the courts.
Coach Maja Kovacek would release the 2021 spring schedule Saturday, one week away from the season opener. The Redbirds will be opening their season Jan. 23 at home against the University of Nebraska at Omaha.
“Like anything else this past year due to COVID, there have been more challenges when making our schedule,” Kovacek states. “There have been a lot of changes, but I’m really happy with what we have put together.”
“We have a lot of matches scheduled and with a large roster this year, that has been a priority,” Kovacek continues. “We wanted to make sure we have enough matches to give everyone opportunities to get back into playing form.”
The Redbird women’s tennis team hasn’t been in active competition since March 2020. Their season was put to a halt as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Four straight home contests to start the season in Bloomington
The Redbirds will be hosting four straight contests inside the Bloomington Tennis and Turf Complex to open the season.
The opener against UN-Omaha will be followed by dual contests on Jan. 29. Illinois State will face off against DePaul and the University of Illinois at Springfield. There will be a Sunday contest on Jan. 31 against the University of Missouri at Kansas City.
A mixed bag of contests in store for February
February will begin with a road trip to Northern Illinois (Feb. 5) and to Columbia, Missouri, to take on Missouri for a pair of matches (Feb. 7).
The Redbirds will then host in-state foes Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville (Feb. 10) and Eastern Illinois (Feb. 14) in Bloomington, before playing its next 10 matches on the road.
The month will conclude with matches at DePauw (Feb. 19) and Dayton (Feb. 20), before weekend matches in Chicago against UIC (Feb. 27) and Chicago State (Feb. 28).
Contest play transitioning to conference play March 27
Three-straight matches in Tennessee open action in March, as the Redbirds face Austin Peay (March 5), Lipscomb (March 7), and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (March 12), before heading back closer to home to take on Saint Louis (March 21).
Illinois State will then open Missouri Valley Conference play at Bradley (March 27) and Missouri State (April 4), before finally returning home to host UNI (April 10) and Drake (April 11). The regular season will conclude with a road match at Valparaiso (April 17), before the Redbirds head to Springfield, Mo., for the MVC Team Championships (April 23-25).
In accordance with state and local guidelines, fans are currently not allowed to attend home ISU Athletics events. Game dates, opponents, times, and locations are subject to change.
For more sports news, follow Jake Leonard on Twitter @JakeLeonardWPMD and Heartland Newsfeed @HLNF_Bulletin on Twitter.
Additionally, you can follow Heartland Newsfeed on Facebook and Reddit among other platforms. You can now follow our news updates on Telegram, Flote, and MeWe.
Support independent journalism. Become a patron on Patreon for as little as $1 a month. There are other donor options as well.
Jake Leonard, a broadcast media and journalism veteran, is the editor-in-chief of Heartland Newsfeed. Leonard is also GM and program director of Heartland Newsfeed Radio Network, wrestling editor and contributing writer for Ambush Sports, a contributing writer for My Sports Vote and Midwest Sports Network, and a former contributor to Bleacher Report and Overtime Heroics. He resides at home in Nokomis, Ill. with his dog Buster.