Herd tennis triumphs in season opener

More stories from By Malcolm Walton

Marshall University’s tennis team won five of its six singles matches and two of its three doubles matches Saturday and defeated the College of Charleston 6-1 in its spring season opener.

“I thought we did really good for the first day, for the level of competition,” Marshall head coach John Mercer said. “The College of Charleston is a really good team. This was a tough match for us.”

Led by senior Samantha Maddox, who had 18 wins last season, the Cougars finished last spring as runner-up of the Colonial Athletic Association.

Mercer said he was impressed with his team responding so well against an opponent who has won multiple conference championships in recent years, especially considering his team is much younger than most teams.

We really want to win the conference this year.

— Kai Broomfield

The Herd has three freshmen and four sophomores on its eight-person roster this season. The lone upperclassman is senior Kai Broomfield.

Sophomore Derya Turhan, who is ranked No. 116 nationally in singles, said Broomfield sets a good example for the younger players.

“Kai tries really hard all of the time,” Turhan said. “She never gives up. She always fights. It’s easy to respect someone like that.”

Despite being the only upperclassmen, Broomfield said she does not feel as if there is added pressure placed on her.

“Everyone on the team is very disciplined and everyone wants to win,” Broomfield said. “So, I really don’t have to do much in that regard. I really just enjoy being a member of the team. There are times I look to my teammates for motivation even though they are younger than me.”

Regardless of their class difference, Broomfield and Turhan both have similar aspirations for the season – winning C-USA.

“We really want to win the conference this year,” Broomfield said. “We came close last year, so that’s the only goal we have this year.”

Turhan, who is the first Herd player to be ranked since 2011, also has her eyes set on a C-USA championship banner.

“We have a really young team, but a really good team,” Turhan said. “ We can do this.”

The Herd’s next match will be against top-ranked UCLA Jan. 24. The game will be played in Los Angeles. The time of the match has not yet been announced.

Malcolm Walton can be contacted at walton47@ marshall.edu.