Six collegiate women’s tennis team’s competed in the first day of the Thunder in the Mountains invitational tournament on Friday at Schoenbaum Tennis courts.
Marshall, West Virginia, West Virginia State, Radford, St. Francis and Villanova were the participating schools. The tournament is co-hosted by Marshall and WVU.
WVU tennis coach Miha Lisac said he likes the concept of the event as his team gets into the swing of things this season
“It’s great to be in Charleston,’ Lisac said. “We play a lot of our home events in Morgantown and it’s nice to be down here. It’s our first fall event for our team so it comes with a little bit of learning. A little bit of working into matches. That’s what we use the fall for.
“We played OK this morning. Fairly well to OK. Definitely some things we want to improve upon going into tomorrow. I’m looking forward to continuing to see how the players are going to compete.”
Thunder in the Mountains is not Marshall’s first fall tournament, as the Thundering Herd competed in the Liberty Invitational last weekend. But coach John Mercer appreciates the opportunity to play nonetheless, especially with a lot of new athletes.
“We basically have six newcomers since the two we had last year didn’t get to play a fall and didn’t get that much experience in the spring,” Mercer said. “It’s a good opportunity to stay close to home, compete with some new teams, get some good matches in.”
Mercer said playing unique competition is another good aspect of the tournament.
“We’ve never played Villanova before,” he said. “We’ve played Radford and we played St. Francis for the first time a couple years ago. It’s always fun to see some different teams and different players.”
The day started with doubles from 9 a.m. to noon. During that time, Marshall took on WVU head to head for the first of two times this weekend. The Thundering Herd and the Mountaineers are set to face off again on Saturday at 9 a.m. and on Sunday at noon to end the tournament.
“It’s great [to compete against them],” Mercer said. “They’re a really good team. Big 12 team. So it’s good to meet here and not have to go somewhere else in the United States to play. It’s good competition for us and good competition for them.”
Marshall got singles victories over Villanova from Madi Ballow, Emma Vanderheyden, Sophia Hurrion, Jutte Van Hansewyck, Rieke Gillar, Liz Stefancic and Kylie Fisher.
The Herd received a pair of doubles victories over two separate St. Francis doubles teams by Hurrion and Kara Joseph.
The tournament continues through Sunday, but players got their first taste of the round-robin style of play on Friday. The tournament is essentially an exhibition that has no bearing on any regular-season standings as the official NCAA tennis seasons begin in spring.