Jan. 8, 2008
Complete Release in PDF Format
The Marshall Thundering Herd tennis team looks to continue its success from last spring and this fall into the 2008 season. In the spring of 2007, Marshall's Kellie Schmitt became the first Thundering Herd singles player to advance to the NCAA Tournament. This season she will attempt to repeat. The Herd finished its second year in Conference USA as conference runner-up. The Herd will strive to continue its success and look to advance further this year as nearly all last season starters will return.
Marshall head coach John Mercer believes his players have done a good job of learning and improving over the past year. He considers last year's experiences as difference makers in the development of his team.
The Herd returns six players with strength and experience. Senior Jeanne Schwartz, juniors Jessica Keener, Kellie Schmitt, and Karolina Soor with sophomores Thaddea Lock and Yulia Kashelkina will command the team.
Coach Mercer has this to say about his returnees--
Jeanne Schwartz hails from West Palm Beach, Fla. and is the only senior this season. She finished the 2007 season 11-19 at the fifth and sixth single positions and 10-11 at the number two and three doubles positions. "Schwartz is playing the best tennis she's played since her arrival at Marshall. She has really diversified her game and can really break down her opponents' play. She can adapt to different situations and is what we (as coaches) expect from our senior. "
Jessica Keener is a junior from Reston, Va. She played the number four, five and six positions and posted a 19-9 singles record for 2007. At the doubles number two and three positions, she ended with a 19-18 record. "Keener has really learned how to diversify her game. She is willing to breakdown her opponent and does what's necessary to win tennis matches. She's also playing the best tennis she's played since her arrival at Marshall."
Kellie Schmitt is a native of Pittsburgh, Pa. and a junior this season. She advanced to the NCAA singles tournament and ended with a 35-11 record. At No. 1 and 2 doubles, had a 29-14 record and reached as high as No. 34 nationally and finished No. 7 in the East Region. In singles, she reached as high as No. 18 nationally-ranked. In May, Schmitt was awarded 2007 C-USA Player of the Year. "Schmitt continues to improve every year and is obviously one of the top players in the country. She just continues to post better and better results."
Karolina Soor hails from Lindesberg, Sweden and is a junior. Soor ranked No. 24 in the East Region last spring. She played at the singles number one, two, and three positions with a 27-13 record. At the number one and two doubles position, she ended with a 27-12 record. In the fall of 2007, Soor with partner Schmitt defeated the number one nationally-ranked duo to take the East Regional title. "Soor has really taken off this fall and has a much better understanding of what she's trying to do, and what she needs to do as an individual to be successful."
Thaddea Lock is a sophomore from Bristol, England who ranked No. 94 nationally last January. At the number four and five singles positions, Lock marked a 19-12 record. She had 21-10 doubles record playing at the number one, two, and three positions. "Lock should be a key player. She really played at a high level in the past and we expect her to continue to play at that level."
Yulia Kashelkina is a native of Moscow, Russia and is a sophomore this season. She played at the number three, four and six positions posting a 16-25 record. At the number two and three doubles positions, she had a 19-20 record. With partner Jessica Keener, the Herd duo had three straight doubles victories in the C-USA tournament to help lead to a victory over Rice. "Kashelkina continues to develop and is learning the style of play that will continue to make her a very successful player."
Kassie Moore is a freshman from Knoxville, Tenn. who posted a 4-5 singles record in the fall. Also, Moore had a 2-3 doubles record against top opponents. "Moore will bring a positive and great attitude to the team."
Isabell Raich is a freshman native from Klaus, Austria. During the fall, Raich had a 3-8 singles and 6-2 doubles records. "Raich is a great recruit and will be an impact player. Her international experience will definitely make her a major contributor to the team."
Ilaisaane Carter and Meagan Porter are both West Virginia natives who will make their marks this spring. "We (as coaches) are excited that Carter and Porter could join the team this year and look forward to them contributing in a positive way."
To end the fall 2007 season, the Herd was represented in both the singles and doubles in the East Region polls. The duo of Schmitt and Soor finished as the East Region's number one team. The pair of Lock and Raich finished the fall season ranked 10th in the East Region. In singles, Schmitt finished ranked number three in the East Region and national rankings will be posted at the beginning of January.
Marshall has primarily proven itself as one of the top programs in the nation and will face an ambitious schedule of that fact. The Herd has a difficult schedule this spring with eight top-50 nationally-ranked opponents, as well as another eight top 75 nationally-ranked teams dotting the schedule.
The Herd tennis program has had great success winning conference championships. However, since joining the Conference USA, two-years ago, the Herd has yet to capture that elusive C-USA crown.
"I think there are three or four C-USA teams that are top 50 programs and I think we are one of them. Hopefully our experience and success at the top and strength at the bottom will pay-off for us," coach Mercer stated in regards to competing for the C-USA championship title.
With a strong group returning that includes NCAA qualifier Kellie Schmitt, Marshall has high aspirations for the 2008 season.