The Shawnee State University men’s and women’s tennis programs will play three and four home matches, respectively, across the first portion of their 2019-20 schedule as the men’s and women’s tennis programs’ home dates with Berea (Ky.), Ohio Christian, Muskingum, and Capital (women only) highlight the fall slate for both units in a release that was made official by head coach Steve Boone on Wednesday.
The Shawnee State men, who will have eight players taking part in fall action this past season, will add Casper Nolte, who finished up a strong season with 21 goals and 10 assists during his four-year soccer career at Shawnee State.
Nolte, an accomplished tennis hand at Valley View High School in Germantown, Ohio, went 56-6 as a doubles player during his final two seasons of play in 2014 and 2015, won the Southwestern Buckeye League’s Second Doubles Tournament in 2014 and First Doubles Tournament in 2015, was a Division II Third-Team All-Area member in 2014 and a Division II All-Area and First-Team All-SBL honoree in 2015, and was named Co-Most Valuable Player for the Spartans. He, along with fellow senior and nearby Lucasville native Rodney Spriggs (SR/Lucasville, Ohio), and Chase Ward (SR/Waverly, Ohio), a senior from Waverly who will also serve as the assistant coach under Boone this season, comprise strong leadership at the core.
Behind them, Jacob Freeland (SO/Marietta, Ohio) — who was a two-time East Central Ohio League (ECOL) honoree at Marietta High School — and Austin Hanshaw (SO/Chapmanville, West Virginia) both return for their senior campaigns and are surrounded by a trio of freshmen, including Lloyd (Ky.) Greenup County High School graduate Harley Dixon (FR/South Portsmouth, Kentucky), Georgetown’s Koby Hyde (FR/Georgetown, Ohio), and Rockwood, Mich.’s Zayden Rinehart (FR/Rockwood, Michigan).
Rinehart, who starred in both tennis and track and field at Gibraltar Carlson High School, played five sports in high school, and in tennis, was named as a Downriver All-League and a All-Region honoree during his sophomore and junior years, won the regional championship at No. 1 doubles in his sophomore season, and followed that up with a regional championship at No. 1 singles in his junior year — the latter being the first in school history for Gibraltar Carlson. Rinehart added two Downriver League Championship in the discus — one each in his junior and senior seasons — was named Downriver All-League in his junior and senior seasons, was twice named to the Southgate, Mich.-based The News Herald for all-league honors in 2018 and 2019, and won a regional title in discus in his junior season of competition. Dixon, who was named to the Ashland Daily Independent All-Area Honorable Mention list in 2019, served as a team captain for the Muskeeters across two of his three seasons with the Greenup County tennis program, and was a two-time team captain and letter winner on the soccer pitch for Levi Kiser’s program.
As for the women, Louisa, Ky. native Shelby Hay (SR/Louisa, Kentucky) — the lone senior on the roster — returns as does juniors Hannah Van Hoose, a Minford native, and Jessica Willard(JR/Circleville, Ohio), who is from Circleville. Fellow Minford hand Heather Adkins (JR/Minford, Ohio ) joins the roster to compete the upperclassmen. Behind them, nine underclassmen, including four sophomores — local native Regan Osborn (SO/Portsmouth, Ohio) and three Southwestern Ohioans, including Claire Carruthers (SO/Clarksville, Ohio), Christa Harris (SO/Carlisle, Ohio), and Molly Stockton (SO/Cincinnati, Ohio) — and five freshman, including Hay’s younger sister, Sheree, their high school teammate from Lawrence County High School, Katelyn Pauley (FR/Louisa, Kentucky), Russell, Ky.’s Ashley Nguyen (FR/Russell, Kentucky), Hebron, Ky.’s Grace Eberhard (FR/Hebron, Kentucky), and Portsmouth’s Avery Wolfe (FR/Portsmouth, Ohio ).
Of that group, Eberhard was a Ninth Region finalist for Connor High School out of Northern Kentucky, while Nguyen contributed to a unit that has won seven consecutive 16th Region Championships at Russell. Pauley, who played in the neighboring 15th Region, was named to the Ashland Daily Independent All-Area Team and was a 15th Region Singles Semifinalist, which led to Pauley earning All-15th Region Team accolades and a berth at the KHSAA State Tournament. Sheree Hay (FR/Louisa, Kentucky) also garnered a berth, along with Pauley, by helping lead Lawrence County to the 15th Region Championship.
Both units open the season with back-to-back away matches against Heidelberg on Saturday, Sept. 14 at 1 p.m. and Indiana Tech, which will commence at 2 p.m. the following day, before returning home to face Berea College on Saturday, Sept. 21 at the William E. Daehler Tennis Center at 3 p.m.
A short road trip to Mount Vernon Nazarene, which takes place the following Friday at 2 p.m. in Mount Vernon, is followed by two home matches over a three-day period, with the men and women playing against Ohio Christian University on Thursday, Oct. 3 at 4 p.m. and against Muskingum on Saturday, Oct. 5 at 12 p.m. The women then conclude the fall schedule with a match against Capital, which occurs the following Saturday on Oct. 12 at 2 p.m. as part of Homecoming Weekend at Shawnee State.
For more information on the latest regarding all sports at Shawnee State University, visit ssubears.com.