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Riley now headed for Western Carolina

South Point Lady Pointers' tennis standout Madison Riley will play at Western Carolina after her original team Morehead State dropped its program.

South Point Lady Pointers’ tennis standout Madison Riley will play at Western Carolina after her original team Morehead State dropped its program.

Jim Walker

jim.walker@irontontribune.com

 

SOUTH POINT — Madison Riley is still heading to college this fall and will play tennis, she’ll just have to drive a little further.

Instead of playing for Morehead State, the former South Point Lady Pointers’ standout will be lacing up her sneakers for the Western Carolina Catamounts.

Morehead State recently dropped its tennis program and left Riley in limbo.

“It was really short noticed. I found out that it’s been in the works for a while,” said Riley.

But the coaches at Western Carolina both played at Marshall University and contacted Riley’s tennis coaches to verify their scouting reports on her.

“The coach used to play for Marshall and the (WCU) assistant coach was assistant at Marshall. They know my current coach I practice with and they called after they heard I was available,” said Riley.

“I’m really excited about it. I’ll be in the starting lineup but I don’t know where yet. I’ll be in the top six for sure.”

WCU head coach Michaela Kissell-Eddins said Riley was a welcomed addition to the roster.

“We are so excited to have Madison joining us this fall,” said Kissell-Eddins. “She has an aggressive all-court game style and is a great competitor on the court.

“I know she will make a big impact for us next season and we are excited to help her reach her goals when she arrives to Cullowhee.”

Kissell-Eddins and assistant coach Jacob Eddins — they are married — both played at Marshall. Eddins spent two seasons as an assistant coach at Marshall.

“They did really well this past season with school record with most program wins. The current coaches have only been there a couple of years so they’ve done a lot in a short period time.”

Riley is ranked as the No. 5 recruit out of Ohio according to TennisRecruting.net and is listed as a three-star prospect.

She is a three-time state qualifier in Division II and was named to the 2015 OHSAA all-state team. She has been ranked inside the top 220 players in the nation in her recruiting class throughout her career.

Riley has signed with Morehead State after considering several schools including Eastern Illinois, Murray State and Missouri State.

One of the reasons Riley picked Morehead State was due to its strong science programs. Fortunately, WCU has a strong science curriculum as well.

“Actually, it’s better. They’ll let me substituted some classes that are all ready full and it’ll help lighten the load a lot,” said Riley.

One drawback to play in North Carolina as opposed to Morehead, Ky., means a greater distance for her parents Kim and Eric Riley to travel for matches.

“Our conference matches are in North Carolina, Samford (Alabama) and Southern Alabama. We won’t get to play as much at home but our first match is at Eastern Kentucky so my parents get to go,” said Riley.