Neidig picks up valuable experience at state tennis tournament

Chris Bowie
Boonville Daily News

Boonville Lady Pirates tennis coach Melissa Harvey said the experience of state is one that sophomore Emma Neidig and herself will never forget and hope to encounter again in the near future.

While competing at the state tournament Friday and Saturday at Cooper Complex in Springfield, Neidig finished 0-2 with a three-set loss in the opening round against Kelsey Cockrum of Odessa 6-4, 3-6 and 4-6 and a two set loss against Lexi Gott of Trenton 4-6, 4-6.

Neidig finished the season at 16-4 overall.

Harvey said Neidig was the only sophomore in Class 1 to be a state qualifier.

“When I asked Neidig what she learned from state, she responded with “that’s it’s crazy,” Harvey said. “We discussed how it would be as scary when she returns because we know what to expect. This experience also gave us insight on a different level of play and what we needed to do to improve her game play.”

In the match against Cockrum, Harvey said Neidig had previously played Cockrum last year during districts and fell to her 3-6, 4-6. However this time, Harvey said Neidig was able to get the first set of the match but just wasn’t able to get another one to close out the win.

As for the second match, Harvey said Neidig had never seen Gott before but knew that she had a strong record so it wasn’t going to be easy.

“In both rounds, Neidig hung with her opponent,” Harvey said. “Almost every game went to deuce and from deuce went back and forth between ad-in and ad-out. Neidig attempted to use the poaching strategy that we had practiced, where she came to the net to put away shots. Unfortunately, she often had trouble executing the strategy by hitting the ball long or her opponent pushing the ball over her. This is to be expected as we only practiced it for two short weeks. We will continue to drill this strategy in the off season to be more successful at it for next year.”

Collectively, Harvey said Neidig felt that she could have won against Cockrum if it weren’t for her own faults. She said Cockrum was a pusher that returned a lot of well placed balls back over the next but her game strategy wasn’t the best. 

Harvey said Neidig was also the only player in the first round to score a point on her opponent. Everyone else fell to their opponent without scoring, she said.

In the second round, Harvey said Neidig’s stamina just wasn’t the best.

“She made several errors to cost her the points and when she arrived at deuce she often had a hard time putting the point away since they were not play with Ad,” Harvey said. “She was able to stay close in points with Gott throughout the whole match, though. There was never a point where she was behind more than two points.”

Overall, Harvey said Neidig’s play was impressive. “She competed well with both senior players. Even though Emma didn’t finish with a win, her confident in her strokes and her strategic play were the wins for the day.”