Oct. 3, 2006
PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. - Marshall University's Kellie Schmitt was one of two 'Lucky Losers' selected as alternates for the qualifying rounds of the Riviera/ITA All-American Tuesday and she made the most of it. Schmitt went on to defeat two of the ITA's Top 70 on her way to the finals of the qualifier.
Because of her 110 ranking and play in the pre-qualifying round, Schmitt was chosen to replace South Florida's Courtney Vernon, who withdrew from the tournament. Her first match was with the 69th ranked Marianne Baker of Maryland. The Thundering Herd's top flight singles player outlasted Baker, 7-6 in the first set and cruised on 6-0 in the second set to take the win.
Schmitt's semifinal match of the qualifier was with No. 55 Melissa Mang of North Carolina. The match went three sets and Schmitt was able to produce a 6-1, 4-6, 6-3 victory for her third win over a player ranked in the top 70 this season.
"Kellie played awesome," Marshall head coach John Mercer said. "She really played great coming out of the second set in the first match and it really carried her. It turned out to be a dogfight against Duke. She (Mang) really made Kellie work for it."
With her win over Mang, Schmitt secured the farthest advancement of any Marshall player at the All-American.
"She got a great break to get into the tournament," Mercer said. "Hopefully she has one more good match in her to get into the main draw."
However all the results from the day's action were not so lucky for the Herd. Marshall's top duo and 34th ranked Schmitt and Lynzee Kever lost 8-3 to 20th Kristi Miller and Allison Silverio in the opening round of the ITA All-American Qualifier. Even though the Herd was unsuccessful in moving forward into the winners side of the tournament Mercer said the experience is what makes the tournament so important.
"The key is you are collecting good wins," he said. "Every match you play here is a good one."
Following the doubles event, the 105th ranked Kever competed in the tournament's first round singles qualifier against Renata Kucerkova of Fresno State. Kucerkova defeated Kever in straight sets 6-1, 6-0.
Kever then competed in the tournament's back draw against No. 117 ranked Austin Smith of North Carolina. Kever was unable to gain momentum in the match and was defeated 6-2, 6-2.
Mercer said at the end of the day the emotional rollercoaster was bitter sweet.
"That's the tough part about this game," he said. "On one hand you feel bad for Lynzee and then on the other you great for Kellie. It definitely has its ups and downs."
Schmitt will play for a spot in the final 32 against 54th ranked Christina Visicio of California and the Herd's doubles team will be back in action in the consolation semifinals on Wednesday.