The Thundering Herd earns honors on and off the court
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – The Marshall University’s women’s tennis team faced opponents from top programs in the country during its 2009 season. The Thundering Herd concluded its spring with high honors both on and off the court.
“I thought we had really good and quality wins this season against top program’s in tough conferences, such as the Big East and Big Ten,” Marshall’s head coach John Mercer said. “I felt we had excellent wins but hoped to finish stronger.”
Marshall was recognized with Conference USA honors following the season. Senior Kellie Schmitt (Pittsburgh, Pa.) garnered her third consecutive C-USA Player of the Year honor and All-Conference First Team recognition. Schmitt finished the spring with the Herd’s top singles record at 21-4 and went 17-6 in doubles at the No. 1 positions.
Schmitt was named C-USA Women’s Tennis Player of the Week three times this season and was honored 10 times in her career. The three honors this season are tied for the most in a single season for a women's tennis player. Schmitt’s 10 career honors are the most ever for a C-USA Women's Tennis Player and are tied for fifth all-time for any C-USA student-athlete.
Karolina Soor (Lindesburg, Sweden)was selected to the C-USA All-Conference Third Team for the first-time in her career. The senior has also been honored with All-Conference Second Team selections twice in her career (2007 and 2008). She earned her first C-USA Player of the Week honor in 2008 and the second of her career back in April.
The Herd’s senior pair of Schmitt and Soor was also recognized to the All-Conference Doubles Second Team. The doubles team selection marks the pair’s fourth consecutive appearance as a doubles team.
Off the courts, senior Jessica Keener (Reston, Va.) earned her second C-USA Academic Medal. The Herd’s Keener, Soor, Catherine Kellner (Smithtown, N.Y.), Thaddea Lock (Bristol, England), and Isabell Raich (Klaus, Austria) were selected to the C-USA Commissioner’s Honor Roll.
“The team competed well against the top teams,” Coach Mercer continued. “I am proud of the team. We had an excellent line-up this year, but couldn’t succeed at the levels we expected.”
The Herd’s regular season schedule was loaded with quite a few top-25 and 50 teams. Marshall began the regular season against the University of Kentucky. The Herd fell 4-3 to the Wildcats, which was a score Marshall saw often. The Herd had 10 close matches decided by a 4-3 margin this season.
Marshall then swept West Virginia and Cincinnati, 7-0, to lead into the opening rounds of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) National Team Indoor Championships, hosted by Georgia. In its first appearance, the Herd defeated the nationally-ranked Florida International squad, 5-1, to advance to the next round. However, top-10 ranked Georgia took a 5-0 victory to earn one of the 15 available spots to the ITA National Team Indoor Championships, hosted by Wisconsin.
The Herd then played host to South Alabama and Penn State in early February before beginning a seven-match road trip. Marshall went into its seven-match road trip with a 5-2 record.
During its road trip, Marshall defeated Eastern Michigan and Michigan State, but fell 4-3 to Minnesota, Washington, and Old Dominion.
The Herd ended its four-match losing streak with four straight victories. The Herd defeated first-time opponents Hawai’i Pacific, Hawai’i at Hilo and Hawai’i. Marshall also defeated Middle Tennessee State, 6-1, after the Herd’s three-match road trip in Hawai’i.
Marshall would close its regular season with three matches against Atlantic Coast Conference opponent Virginia Tech and Big East foes Louisville and Pittsburgh. Seniors Keener, Soor and Schmitt ended their regular season careers successful with two victories over Louisville and Pittsburgh.
The 2009 C-USA Championships were hosted by Rice University. The Herd earned a first-round bye with its third seed behind SMU and Tulsa. Marshall easily defeated ECU, 4-0, in the quarterfinal round to advance the Herd to the semifinal round against Tulsa.
After winning the doubles point, the Herd couldn’t finish the close points during singles play and fell 4-3 to the Hurricane.
“This year’s results should be an inspiration for our returnees and newcomers next year,” Coach Mercer added. “The graduating seniors had a great four years and I am proud of the high levels of college tennis they competed against throughout their career. I know each of them will be successful after Marshall.”
Soor finished 14-9 in singles and 17-6 in doubles, while Keener was 12-10 in both singles and doubles. Junior transfer Deanna Bailey (McDonough, Ga.) went 10-10 in singles and 10-11 in doubles. Raich finished 11-14 in singles and 4-7 in doubles, while Kellner concluded the spring with the Herd’s second best singles record at 18-6 and went 10-12 in doubles.
Lock went 1-1 in singles and 6-5 in doubles, while Kristina Koprcina (Split, Croatia) finished 1-2 in singles and 2-5 in doubles.
The Herd finished 14-11 overall, 6-4 at home, 7-5 away, and 1-2 at neutral sites. Marshall was 3-11 against nationally ranked opponents.
For updates visit the women’s tennis page at herdzone.com.
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