TEMPE, Ariz. -- The Maryland women's tennis team will head to Pepperdine University in Malibu, California, in January to take part in the 2018 ITA Kick-Off Weekend, the ITA announced on Wednesday.
The ITA Kickoff Weekend was crafted in 2009 as a qualifier for the ITA National Team Indoor Championships. Sixty schools compete for 15 spots in the national tournament, with the host school receiving an automatic bid. The women's national indoors will return to the University of Wisconsin's campus in Madison, Wis., Feb. 9-12.
After 15 ITA Kickoff Weekend host sites are named, a draft is held with schools selecting which site to travel to. Teams pick in order of where they finished in the ITA final rankings from the previous season. The Nos. 1 and 4 seeds and the Nos. 2 and 3 seeds will play in the first round with the two winners meeting in the second round match for a spot in the prestigous National Indoor Championships.
The Terps are the No. 4 seed in a bracket that will feature three nationally ranked opponents. Host Pepperdine is ranked No. 8, second seed Oregon is No. 38, and the third-seeded Rice Owls are ranked No. 40.
"We are extremely excited to have the opportunity to play in the ITA Kick-Off Weekend," head coach Daria Panova said. "We are guaranteed to play two matches against some quality opponents that we wouldn't ordinarily play against. This will be a great test for us and it is something we are looking forward to."
Maryland will be participating in the event for the third consecutive year. The Terps traveled to the University of Florida in 2016 and played at the University of Virginia last season.
The Terps last traveled to the Golden State during the 2015 fall season for the ITA All-American Championships.
Maryland's 2018 squad will have some new faces after graduating a record-setting senior class this past spring. Kristina Hovsepyan, Alexandra Stanova, Cassandre Thebault and Olivia Gaudreault graduated after leading Maryland to its most successful spring season in program history this past season.
Head coach Daria Panova has already announced the signing of two highly-touted recruits: Zoe Kulkarni and Eva Alexandrova.