After winning seven of its last eight matches, the No. 38 Texas Tech men's tennis team is prepared for games Friday and Saturday against ranked opponents, the second of which begins conference play.
Tech begins weekend play when it faces off against No. 22 Tulsa at 6 p.m. Friday at McLeod Tennis Center.
After its match with Tulsa, Tech will have a short time to prepare for its next match, which marks the beginning of conference play against No. 15 Baylor at 1 p.m. Sunday at McLeod Tennis Center.
With two ranked opponents coming into town, the Red Raiders will face the toughest opponents of the season, Tech coach Tim Siegel said.
Siegel also said the next couple matches are critical to receive an NCAA berth all the while maintaining Tech's ranking.
"Sitting at 38th in the country, we are in the hunt for another NCAA berth," he said. "We also know we have got to win some matches in order to stay in that top 40."
The Red Raiders plan to exact revenge on Tulsa after the Hurricanes narrowly defeated the Red Raiders in the 2011-2012 season.
"They beat us last year and they are returning basically their entire team," Siegel said. "Tulsa is a very talented team that starts at the top of the lineup. It will be a very difficult match for us."
Although Siegel said Tulsa will be a tough matchup, he is looking forward to facing strong competition before conference play begins.
Heading into the weekend, Tech senior Vitor Manzini said the Red Raiders are peaking at the right part of the season, with conference play beginning soon.
"I feel the team is playing much better," he said. "I feel that the team is much stronger in every position of the lineup so I think we are ready to start conference, and (Friday) as well."
Playing at the No. 1 position this season has developed Manzini as a player and given him more confidence to play in the big games this season, Manzini said.
He said he hopes to draw from experience to defeat his opponents this weekend.
Friday's match against Tulsa is the first night game played this season, and Siegel said he looks forward to seeing a sizeable crowd.
Siegel said there will be food, drinks and T-shirts given away.
"I am excited that this is our first night match," he said. "If we play well this weekend, we are on our way to the NCAA's."