Herd Tennis Set to Honor Most Successful Class in History Today at Senior Day Against Bowling Green
The senior class, Ashley Kroh, Joelle Good, Olivia Hill, Danielle Hock and Lille Nzudie
Photo by Matt Riley
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Since the arrival of the 2005 senior class, the Marshall tennis program has known nothing less than championship success and as their final season comes to a close, the Herd wants to make sure that nothing changes that dominance.
The senior class of Joelle Good (Zurich, Switzerland), Danielle Hock (Wigan, England), Ashley Kroh (Louisville, Ky.), Lille Nzudie (Duoala, Cameroon), and Olivia Hill (Clarksburg, W.Va.) has been a cornerstone of the program that has developed into a dynasty with its rule over the Mid-American Conference. Since the arrival of this group of standout seniors, the Herd has compiled an unheard of record of 42-2 in the MAC, with two regular season championship and three-straight tournament titles and they are back for one more.
The story of the class has been one for the ages in Marshall tennis and the group has been the most successful class in any sport for the Thundering Herd in their time on campus. In fact the only team to equal the success of Marshall in its stay in the MAC was football with championships from1997-2000.
“Before we signed them in 2001 we were a little stressed to say the least because in March we had no commitments, but by July we ended up getting the best class in the history of Marshall tennis,” Marshall head coach John Mercer said. “They have a lot to be proud of and they want to go out with one more big win. They have a point to prove with one more conference championship and trip to the NCAA Tournament.”
This class has probably already proved its point, winning 95 percent of its matches in MAC play, 264-15 overall combined together, but completing a sweep of the conference crown for all four years would be sweet.
“There’s no doubt about it,” senior Ashley Kroh said. “Winning our fourth MAC title would be an amazing feat to accomplish and we all want to go out with another one.”
The success of the program is something that’s been noticed in the community and on a national scale as the team has consistently garnered ITA Top 75 rankings since this group of seniors has arrived.
“They’ve definitely set a new standard for Marshall tennis,” Mercer said. “They came in to a program that was excited to be in the top 75, and now we want to be a top 50 program every year. They’ve certainly made their mark and raised the bar.”
Marshall Director of Athletics, Bob Marcum said the tennis team has not only been an asset on the court, but is the type of program that does things the right way.
“When you look at what’s been accomplished,” Marcum said. “As far as winning championships, tennis and football have been are most successful programs in the past several years in regards to the MAC. The success starts with the coaches and the determination of the players on the court. John and Laurie and these seniors have really taken the team to new heights, they are a very driven team and I don’t know what more you could ask for out of a program.”
Senior Women’s Administrator and Associate Athletics Director, Beatrice Crane-Banford said the 2005 senior class has many things to be proud of as it approaches its final matches.
“This senior class is the foundation on which the Marshall tennis dynasty was built,” she said. “Without these girls, we would have had good teams over the last four years, but with them, we have been great and will continue to be great because of the tradition they’ve helped establish.”
Current teammates, Shannon Brown and Jeanne Schwartz are two new members of the Herd puzzle that hope to continue to build on the success created by the senior class.
“They’ve been an inspiration to us,” Brown said. “To see what all they’ve accomplished is unbelievable. We’ve been able to learn from them and we want to continue to carry on the torch.”
Schwartz said it’s not only the success that rubs off on the younger players, but it’s the wants and desire of the seniors that has helped her develop.
“They’re a very aspirational group,” Schwartz said. “They want to keep getting better and they have visions of what they want this team to accomplish and as a freshman seeing that has been great and we want to continue to carry on the tradition.”
Good, Hock, Kroh, Nzudie and Hill have provided so many memories and are etched into the record books, but Mercer said the neatest thing about it how five people from across the world have come together for such success.
“We have five different types of individuals who have tried hard to get where they are and we’ve had a lot of fun along the way,” he said. “It’s been an amazing run and we couldn’t have asked for more out of them. We know they’re going to be successful in whatever they do and we’re really going to miss them.”
The Herd will honor its seniors today at the Huntington Tennis Club at 1 p.m., against Bowling Green in the final regular season match of the season. The ceremony will take place between doubles and singles.