Herd Tennis Wins Close Match v Murray State 4-3

Tyler Kennett, Reporter

Despite the cold weather, Marshall University’s tennis team defeated Murray State 4-3 this weekend to conclude its short home match stretch in Huntington. With the win, Marshall advances to 4-2 in its overall matches on the year, showcasing the yearly success of Herd tennis. The Herd has hit this mark the past three seasons. Marshall is now on a three-match win streak. 

“They are all tough and they all have their moments, every match,” Marshall head tennis coach Jon Mercer said about his team.  

The Herd’s doubles pairings that faced off in the match against Murray State all featured freshman players. While two of three pairings featured seniors, namely Madi Ballow in the second pairing and Liz Stefancic in the first, the final pairing featured Gabrielle Clairotte and Aisling McGrane, a sophomore and freshman duo.  

“This is Gabrielle’s first full year being in the lineup,” said coach Mercer of the sophomore, “She showed the competitive spirit and that’s what we need.” 

Doubles play began in definite favor for the Herd. Liz Stefancic and Emma Vanderheyden, Marshall’s rank one doubles pairing, defeated Grabrielle Geolier and Natalie Slezakova of Murray State six games to one, giving Marshall the immediate advantage. 

Following that match, however, Murray State responded aptly, winning the other pairings in a combined games total of 12-8.  In doing so, Murray State took the overall doubles point, leading the competition 0-1. 

Once singles began, Marshall went to work. Emma Venderheyden, a freshman who won Conference USA Women’s Tennis Player of the Week last week, defeated her opponent in two sets on court one, 6-4 and 6-3. 

Liz Stefancic, the other half of court one’s doubles pair, defeated her opponent, Sarah Bureau, in dominant fashion. In the first set, she won 6-2. In the second, she swept, winning 6-0. 

Following the completion of the first three singles matches, Marshall had the overall lead in the match, taking it 3-1. The Herd needed one more point overall to secure the day. 

Murray State would not let up, winning on court four and court five in four combined sets. 

“We needed everyone to go out and compete hard and that’s what we got today,” said coach Mercer following his comment about Clairotte. 

In the final matchup, with the overall point total tied at 3-3, Freshman Gabrielle Clairotte had her second chance to take a decisive point following defeat in her doubles matchup. Following a first set victory of 6-2, the second set came down to the wire. In a win-or-go-home set for Gabrielle Geolier, the court 6 opponent for Murray State, Clairotte took the set in a very close finish, winning 7-6. 

Herd Tennis will be back in action on Saturday, February 5, to take on the University of Dayton. The match will take place in Miamisburg Ohio as the Herd will look to play in the South Regency Tennis Center for the first time since the 2020 season. Marshall has a 7-0 record all time in its one match history against the Flyers.