February in Lake Nona means the college tennis season will be in full swing at the USTA National Campus.
The month kicks off with one of the most anticipated matches of the year, as the Florida and Florida State men square off at College MatchDay on Feb. 1. This will be the fourth consecutive year that the in-state rivals will face each other in Lake Nona. The capacity crowd each of the past three years has been treated to compelling matches, featuring two of the nation’s top programs.
This year, on the heels of an NCAA semifinal appearance, the Gators are ranked No. 1 in the Oracle ITA Division I Men’s Preseason Team Rankings. Florida touts a strong team, returning most of its key contributors from a successful 2019 season. The Seminoles find themselves ranked just outside the Top 25.
College MatchDay is a series of marquee, neutral-site college tennis matches designed to showcase some of the nation’s top collegiate tennis programs. The event is free and will feature a Net Generation kids’ clinic, as well as additional kids’ activities, live music, specialty food and drinks, games, and giveaways.
Through three years at the USTA National Campus, College MatchDay has attracted more than 15,000 fans, averaging more than 1,000 fans per match.
The 2020 College MatchDay slate features two more compelling women’s matchups. On Feb. 15, a preseason No. 12-ranked USC team will take on Notre Dame. And finally, on March 1, the Florida State women (No. 16) will take on Ohio State (No. 25) in a showdown of two teams ranked in the preseason Top 25.
The USTA National Campus has served as the home court for both the UCF women’s and men’s programs since it opened, and both Knight squads are expected to have strong seasons with talent-filled rosters.
The UCF women, who find themselves ranked No. 13 in the preseason poll, have a number of home matches in February, while the men return home on Feb. 29 against in-state foe FAU.
The campus will be filled with other college action throughout the month, as the USTA National Campus serves as an ideal neutral venue for programs around the country to stage early-season matches in favorable weather conditions. On average, more than 300 colleges and universities, including NCAA Divisions I, II, and III and NAIA, play at least one match at the campus each year.
These additional matches are arranged through initiatives like the USTA Collegiate Series and Spring Break Tennis. The USTA Collegiate Series will involve a number of neutral-site matches featuring some of the country’s top Division I programs, including a preseason No. 18-ranked Texas A&M women’s team and a showdown between the Florida State men and a traditionally strong, No. 22-ranked Oklahoma program. Meanwhile, Spring Break Tennis is a company that helps teams from throughout the country find applicable matchups while traveling to Orlando during their respective spring breaks. Each year, this has led to hundreds of college programs from varying levels, mostly from colder climates, taking advantage of the campus’ vast number of courts and Orlando’s favorable springtime climate.
All of these matches are free and open to the public. For more information on all USTA National Campus events in 2020 and to reserve free tickets for all three College MatchDays, please visit www.ustanationalcampus.com.