Malcom Johnson and the men's team will play 13 matches in 2012

Jan. 19, 2012

PRINCESS ANNE, Md. - The University of Maryland Eastern Shore tennis teams are proud to announce that their 2012 schedules have been released. The schedules feature nine contests at the Hawks Outdoor Tennis facility, 11 doubleheaders and four matches against Division III opponents. The women are set to play 15 matches, while the men will play 13.

For the second consecutive season, UMES will begin its season with a new man at the helm as Dr. James Heimdal will lead the Hawks in 2012. Heimdal and the Hawks may have a difficult task ahead of themselves, as several opponents on the schedule are coming off outstanding 2010-11 campaigns.

The teams open up regular season play at home when they host Saint Francis (Pa.) University on Saturday, Feb. 18 at 10 a.m. The squads will then take two weeks off before traveling to Salisbury, Md., where the men will take on Salisbury University and the women will square off with Towson University.

Salisbury, a Division III member of the Capital Athletic Conference, saw its men's team go 16-8 last season while the Towson women's squad was 1-1 this fall and already has had three student-athletes qualify for the ITA Atlantic Regional Championship.

The teams will entertain Norfolk State University on March 8 in their Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference openers.

UMES stays in conference for its next match when the Hawks travel to Howard University on March 10. Howard appears to be the toughest opponent for UMES early on, as UMES will face a men's and women's unit that each won MEAC North Division titles last season. The Bison each went undefeated in the North Division last year and are picked to repeat in 2012.

UMES will host Morgan State University in a doubleheader and then travel to Coppin State University the second week of March.

The Hawks will spend their spring break trip in North Carolina this season as the two teams will engage in doubleheaders against Florida A&M University and North Carolina Central University on March 17 in Durham, N.C. FAMU was chosen to finish second in the MEAC North for both teams in the preseason poll.



UMES will face Chowan University in Murfreesboro, N.C., on March 20. The Hawks face a CU squad that saw neither of its teams win a match this fall.

The 12-match road trip will conclude with contests at Mount St. Mary's (March 21) and Wesley College (March 28). Wesley, a Division III school in the Capital Athletic Conference combined to go 3-17 in 2011.

"We were so close last season to making it last season," said senior captain Solana Johnson. "Our game against Wesley was close and we thought we were going to win. That loss knocked us out of going to the MEAC Tournament. It's our goal to go to the MEAC Tournament again, so Wesley is going to be important for all of us."

The women will close the month of March by hosting Delaware State University and Savannah State University in a MEAC doubleheader on March 31. The matches look to be pivotal for the Lady Hawks, who need positive results to improve their seeding for the upcoming MEAC Tournament.

"The matches will be our final home game," said Johnson. "It's going to be emotional. It's the last time I will probably play on these courts. We've all been through so much and I'm going to miss it. Hopefully, we can come out of it with a win."

The two teams will come together one last time during the regular season on April 4, when they travel to Hampton University. Hampton was predicted to finish second in the MEAC North in 2012.

The squads finish the regular season with contests against non-conference opponents. The men face Hunter College, who went to Division III Regional Tournament last season, on April 12, while the women are set to travel to Bowie State University on April 11.

Depending on the Hawks' regular season finish, the squad may receive an invitation to the 2011-12 MEAC Tournament. The MEAC Tournament is set to begin action on April 13-15 at the Milbrook Tennis Center in Raleigh, N.C.

For complete recaps, results and news of Hawk athletics, please visit www.umeshawks.com

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