Tennis Opens Season Saturday at Nationally-Ranked Kentucky

Jan. 18, 2008

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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - The Marshall University's tennis team will travel to Lexington, Ky., Saturday to open the 2008 season against No. 34 University of Kentucky at 12:00 p.m. The Thundering Herd will then kick-off its home opener, Sunday beginning with West Virginia at 10:00 a.m. Marshall then hosts Morehead State at 2:00 p.m. at the Huntington Tennis Club.

"This weekend will be challenge for us," Marshall's head coach John Mercer said. "We hope to post good finishes and results."

Marshall comes into the weekend with a team ranking of 65th and two top-20 rankings. Juniors Kellie Schmitt (Pittsburgh, Pa.) and Karolina Soor (Lindesberg, Sweden) earned the No. 15 doubles ranking after a strong fall performance with a win over the No. 1 duo William and Mary, which sent the duo to the National Indoor Championships in Columbus, Ohio. At the championships, Schmitt and Soor defeated the No. 10 University of Tennessee's pair, but fell to the future doubles champions, Notre Dame.

Schmitt earned the No. 19 singles ranking after she defeated Arkansas' Nadia Abdala, ranked 24th, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, at the All-American Championships last fall.

The Herd suffered a hard fought loss in Lexington last season, 4-3, which advanced the Wildcats' lead over the Herd, 0-7.

"Kentucky is a highly ranked and talented team with a mixture of young and experienced players," coach Mercer added. "We expect to compete and play against good teams."

Marshall defeated the Mountaineers last season at Morgantown, 6-1, to improve the Herd's all-time lead over the Mountaineers to 8-3.

"We hope there's a crowd Sunday to support us," coach Mercer added. "WVU has improved and will be a challenge coming off a road trip against Kentucky."

The Herd swept the Eagles last season with a 7-0 victory at the Huntington Tennis Club and enhanced its 5-0 series advantage.

"Playing another match back-to-back will help us to win," coach Mercer finished.

The Herd returns six players to add a load of depth and experience. Senior Jeanne Schwartz (West Palm Beach, Fla.), junior Jessica Keener (Reston, Va.), sophomores Thaddea Lock (Bristol, England) and Yulia Kashelkina (Moscow, Russia) will Schmitt and Soor to command the team.

The Marshall Thundering Herd tennis team looks to continue its success from last spring and this fall into the 2008 season. With a strong group of returners, which includes NCAA qualifier Kellie Schmitt, Marshall has high aspirations for the 2008 season.