NEWARK, Del. – Following a successful and highly productive fall season, the University of Delaware tennis squads will open their spring slate this Sunday as the Blue Hens host Howard University at Bethany Beach’s Sea Colony Resort at 2 p.m.

Both UD teams built a solid foundation this past fall to be able to compete at a championship level this spring under head coach Laura Travis, who is in her 22nd season at the helm of the Hens.

Last season, the Blue Hens women posted their most successful season in recent history with a 12-6 overall record and advanced to the CAA Tournament semifinals for the first time in school history.

The UD women are an experienced crew with no freshmen on the roster and led by senior Dorothy Safron (New York, N.Y.).  Safron is currently 64-35 during her four seasons with the Blue Hens, a mark that is good for eighth all-time in Delaware history.  Fellow senior Olivia Heim (Gibsonia, Pa.; Pine-Richland HS) is also in the Delaware career Top 20 with a mark of 53-39.

Including Safron and Heim, Delaware finished the 2013 season with five 15-plus match winners on the squad in Carmen Lai (18-9), Danea Jonjic’ (17-12) and Nataliya Naumova (17-14).

The UD men, a team that went 5-11 overall last season and competed in the CAA quarterfinals, return five letterwinners from last year’s roster while adding four newcomers to the mix.

The Blue Hens are led by seniors Troy Beneck (Wilmington, Del.) and Adam Lawton (Estepona, Spain), both of whom have re-written the Delaware record books during their four years at UD.  The duo has broken the Delaware career doubles record and both Beneck and Lawton are climbing the career singles record charts.

Following Sunday’s contest against Howard, both Blue Hens squads travel to the Green Spring Racquet Club to face Loyola on Feb. 1. 

The next weekend, the UD men host Quinnipiac on Feb. 8 at the Elkton Indoor Courts before both squads face off against Villanova on Feb. 9 at DuPont Country Club.

The Blue Hens women take the following weekend off while the men host Saint Joseph’s at the Elkton Indoor Courts on Feb. 15.

The next two weekends feature home UD women’s matches (Feb. 22 vs. Quinnipiac and March 1 vs. Saint Joseph’s; both at Elkton Indoor Courts) while the men travel to Swarthmore (Feb. 22), Lehigh (Feb. 23), and Navy (March 1).

The women then travel to Annapolis, Md. on March 4 to take on the Mids before both squads open CAA action on March 8 by traveling to Hofstra.

Delaware plays a combined three non-conference opponents before traveling to Virginia for a spring break trip against CAA foes William & Mary and James Madison followed by a match against George Mason.

The Blue Hens women compete in one final regular season road match on April 10 by traveling to Towson before both teams host Drexel at the Delaware Field House Outdoor Courts on April 12 as a part of Senior Day.

Both squads will compete in 14 total regular season matches.  Delaware will host a total of six contests this season with two each at the Delaware Field House Courts, two at the Elkton Indoor Tennis Courts, Sunday’s match at the Sea Colony Resort and one match at DuPont Country Club.

The 2014 CAA Tournament will be held April 17-20 and hosted by William & Mary.