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Monday, April 4, 2016

Doran is Minnesota State's Net Gain

Draper, Utah., native Killian Doran is in her second season
with the Minnesota State women's tennis team
Going to school far away from home can be overwhelming. However, for Minnesota State tennis sophomore Killian Doran being a Maverick feels just like home.

Doran, a Draper, Utah native, is playing her second season for the MSU women’s tennis team and she could not be happier with her decision to make the move from the Beehive State to the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

“This campus is very similar to Utah State where my older sister went to school and I really liked that atmosphere,” said Doran on how she ended up in Mankato.  “So when I visited MSU it felt a lot like home and I was really comfortable.”

Tennis has been Doran’s love for a long time, but she has a lot of experience in many different sports.

“I did every sport under the sun,” the Corner Canyon High School graduate said. “When I was 10, my cousin started to play tennis and I followed in her foot steps and really fell in love with it and I’ve stuck with it ever since.”

A three-year tennis letter winner in high school, Doran helped Alta High School to a 24-4 record as a freshman and made it to the second round in the state tournament. The following year, Doran helped lead the team to a state title. She transferred to Corner Canyon as a senior and became their first regional champion and was ranked in the top 500 in the country.

As a freshman in 2014-15, she posted a 7-10 overall record playing #1 singles for the Mavericks, but was 7-4 in conference singles matches. Paired with Sarah McCann, the duo went 7-11 in doubles matches.  Playing mostly at #3 as a sophomore in 2016, she sports a 10-5 record, but definitely prefers one style of match to the other.

“I would have to say I like playing doubles more,” Doran said. “Because you have that partner, somebody there to keep you calm and it’s a little more fun because you get to do more at the net.”

Christie Williams, now into her fifth year as head coach of the Minnesota State women’s tennis program, has been very impressed with Doran’s improved play and leadership skills over the past two years.

“Killian has come a long way in terms of increasing her mental toughness and ability to win in close match situations, she is definitely a team leader and does a remarkable job of leading by example,” said Williams. “She always gives full effort in practice, is receptive to coaching and is organized. Her positive attitude does not go unnoticed. I have also received positive remarks from opposing coaches regarding her sportsmanship and competitive drive.”

Doran is having a fantastic year for the Mavericks and has pulled out several close, crucial wins for the team. However, as her individual play positively increases, Doran still has team goals on her mind.

“As a team one of our early goals was to beat the University of Sioux Falls which we did,” Doran said. “That was a really close match and for us to close it out was huge. I think overall we just want to stay positive and make it far in the tournament at the end of the season.”

Doran emphasizes that her focus on team goals comes from a genuine love for her tennis teammates.

“I think my favorite part of being a Minnesota State student-athlete is just my team. They really are like my second family and we do a lot together,” Doran said. “There are several us that live pretty far away from home so we’re able to spend a lot of quality time with each other, which is great. Just being a Maverick athlete in general is great because our school has so many successful teams and I love being a part of that.”

As far as free time goes, Doran tries to fill it with schoolwork and other positive organizations on campus.

“I’m a psychology major so that takes up a lot of my time, “ Doran said. “And I’m also in the Alpha Sigma Alpha sorority on campus, which is a lot of fun. I joined my freshman year because I was looking for a way to get involved on campus, do community service and meet new people.”

Eventually, Doran would like to go to graduate school for sports and performance psychology, but while she’s at MSU she wants to make the most of her experiences.

“It’s great being a part of the athletic community and I feel proud that I can be someone to look up to,” Doran said. “As I continue to play these next few years I hope we can be successful as a team and make it through the NSIC tournaments.”

Doran and the rest of the Maverick tennis team continue to work their way toward the 2016 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference tournament scheduled for April 22-24 in Minnetonka, Minn.

Contributed by Kelcie Richmond, Minnesota State Athletic Communications intern


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