After a 24-year absence, tennis returned to MVNU as a club sport this year and will move to varsity status for the 2017-18 school year.
The Cougars will kick off their season with a scrimmage against Shawnee State University tomorrow. MVNU will host the meet at the Lakewood Racquet Club in Lexington. The Cougars have five scrimmages scheduled for this spring.
The team is coached by MVNU graduate Daniel Doan (’16). Doan played for Triway High School in Wooster, Ohio, and won all-league honors from the Principals Athletic Conference all four years.
Doan, who graduated from MVNU with a degree in communications and a minor in youth ministry, said he is looking forward to seeing what the season will hold for the team.
“We are making progressive steps towards establishing ourselves as a tennis program,” Doan said.
“For this year, the goal is more about consistency, improvement and setting a tone for the future.”
“We will grow closer as a team and develop team chemistry,” Doan said. “We want to improve and make progressive steps towards establishing ourselves” as a competitive program.
Doan said he is looking forward to the challenge of starting a new program at MVNU.
"My love for the game of tennis and students make me a perfect fit (for the job),” he said.
The men’s tennis team will consist of Christopher Ketchel, Jimmy Klingele, Anthony Howard, Kevin Maurer, Aaron Ho , and Ethan Rummel. The women’s team includes Jayna Morehouse, Sarah Higgins, Mariah Kittell, Miranda Stover, Shelbi Keller, and Tiffany Lawrence.
Maurer, entering his junior year, said he looks forward to being part of the team and representing the school in tennis for the first time in 24 years.
"I am excited to see the tennis program get started up again next season," Maurer said.
The team will lose only one player for next year, senior Christopher Ketchel. Doan has already signed two male and three female recruits for 2017-18.
The Cougars currently practice once a week at the Lakewood Racquet Club, an indoor facility 35 minutes from campus in Lexington, Ohio.
As the weather gets warmer, the team will practice outdoors on MVNU’s new tennis courts three times a week. The courts were constructed this fall at 1010 Newark Road next to the MVNU softball field.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held on Nov. 15, 2016, opening the courts for the team.
MVNU President Dr. Henry Spaulding said the new tennis courts are a testimony to the community.
"There are times in the institution where you just have to say you're grateful for the community you're in, the people who are in the community, and the university itself, and this is one of those days,” Spaulding said the day of the ribbon-cutting event.
Construction was partially funded by a grant from the United States Tennis Association. Money for the project also was donated by Ariel Foundation, Mark and Denise Ramser, and the Community Foundation of Mount Vernon and Knox County.