Herd Tennis Opens MAC Play at No. 49 Western Michigan





Herd Tennis Opens MAC Play at No. 49 Western Michigan

3/24/2005


Senior Lille Nzudie and the team practice at Western Michigan Thursday.
Photo by Matt Riley

KALAMAZOO, Mich. - The Marshall Thundering Herd tennis team begins its quest for a third-straight Mid-American Conference regular season championship and fourth consecutive MAC Tournament title Friday afternoon at Western Michigan University. This will be the Herd's final season in the MAC before heading to Conference USA next year.

The No. 70 ranked Thundering Herd (7-6) will challenge the No. 49 ranked Broncos (8-5) at 1 p.m. in the MAC opener for both teams. Both squads are the MAC favorites heading into the regular season. Marshall will then bus to Rockford, Ill., for a 1 p.m. matchup with the Northern Illinois Huskies on Saturday.

"This is an important weekend for us," Marshall head coach John Mercer said. "We need to get off to a good start in the MAC and get the momentum in our corner in our final season as we try to defend our title."

Marshall is coming off a split weekend where it beat Washington State and lost to the University of San Diego on its Spring Break trip to Southern California. The Herd downed the No. 64 ranked Cougars of Washington State, 5-2, before losing to No. 69 USD, 5-2 on Sunday.

Western Michigan is coming off back-to-back loss against No. 39 Michigan and No. 53 Davidson. Northern Illinois enters the weekend 4-3. Last season, Marshall downed WMU, 5-2 and beat NIU, 6-1 in Huntington. The Herd is 4-5 against the Broncos since joining the MAC in 1998 and 9-0 against the Huskies.

Marshall is led by All-American Ashley Kroh (Louisville, Ky.), the current MAC Player of the Week. The Herd's Danielle Hock (Wigan, England) and Joelle Good (Zurich, Switzerland) are ranked No. 57 in the latest ITA Doubles poll.