"I felt Kellie was prepared but it didn't work against such a great player," Marshall's Head Coach John Mercer said. "We wish Megan the best of luck." Schmitt ended her 2008 singles season 23-4 with her second consecutive Conference USA Player of the Year and All-Conference First Team honors and as the Intercollegiate Tennis Association's (ITA) East Regional Player-to-Watch.
On Wednesday, Schmitt rallied from losing the first set 3-6 to upset Georgia Tech's 51st nationally ranked Whitney McCray on day one, 3-6, 6-2 and 7-5. Schmitt and McCray had competed at the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) All-American Championships in the qualifying round of 16 back in October and McCray defeated Schmitt 6-4, 6-4, but could not beat the Herd's best player today.
"It is exciting to get this first round win against a tough player," said Schmitt. "My hard work paid off and this win has also helped to improve my confidence."
Marshall's Karolina Soor will team with fellow junior Kellie Schmitt on Thursday in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at Case Tennis Center on the campus of Conference USA's Tulsa Golden Hurricane, who beat MU for the C-USA team title this season. photo from HerdZone.com
The 28th-ranked doubles team of Schmitt and Karolina Soor, from Lindesberg, Sweden, will also be the lone C-USA doubles representative in the NCAA Doubles Competition, but that match did not go the Herd's way. Marshall's duo fell to the No. 7-ranked nationally duo of Amanda Granson and Melissa Mang from Duke University 6-4, 6-3.
In the past six seasons, Marshall (currently 49th in the nation) has been present at the NCAA singles and/or doubles competition five times. Schmitt participated in the 2007 NCAA singles competition. With partner Lynzee Kever (2005-2006), Schmitt also appeared in the 2006 NCAA Doubles competition.
Karolina Soor (left) and Kellie Schmitt were hoping to follow in the footsteps of Jessica Johnson and Ashley Kroh, who were national finalists in women's tennis doubles at the NCAA Tournament in 2004, but lost to No. 7 Duke on Thursday, May 22. photo from HerdZone.com
Marshall's Jessica Johnson (2001-2004) and Ashley Kroh (2001-2005) were 2004 NCAA National Finalists, running all the way to the championship. Johnson and Alice Sukner (2000-2004) participated in the 2003 NCAA doubles competition. As a team, the Herd has also earned NCAA appearances in three of the past six seasons.