Mattie Kidder advances to state tennis meet for second time
Mattie Kidder has earned a second chance.
Kidder qualified for the Division 1 WIAA State Individual Tennis Championships by taking fourth place in the one singles flight of the Eau Claire Memorial sectional tournament last Thursday.
Last year Kidder and Kaycie Anderson advanced to the state tournament as the Tigers’ top doubles team. Kidder and Anderson scored one victory at state last year, against Sheboygan North. Kidder and Anderson were beaten in the second round by a team from Green Bay Southwest that would go on to finish second in the state tournament.
Tiger coach Denise Devereux said last year’s experience at state will be an advantage for Kidder. The tournament is played at the Nielsen Center in Madison, a facility “that can be intimidating because it’s so huge,” Devereux said. “She’ll go in with more confidence. She knows how good some of the people there will be.”
Kidder goes into the state tournament with a 20-6 record. Her opening opponent is West Bend East freshman Melinda Schaetz, who has a 24-3 record. Schaetz qualified for state by being a sectional champion at two singles. Their meet is scheduled for approximately noon on Thursday.
Schaetz is part of a dynamic freshman class that has swept into the state tournament. There are 10 freshmen in the state tournament field and several of them were seeded among the top 16 players in the Division 1 state bracket. Among them is West Bend East freshman Lexi Keberle, who is 25-0. Keberle will be the opponent for the winner of the match between Kidder and Schaetz.
Both the players who defeated Kidder at the sectional meet are freshmen and both are seeded in the top eight players in the Division 1 state tournament bracket.
Kidder opened the sectional tournament by facing Wausau East senior Erin Lemmer, with the winner earning a place in the state tournament field. Kidder came out firing, taking a 3-0 lead in the opening match. Lemmer was a baseline player who tried lobs to prevent Kidder from charging to the net. Kidder patiently waited for Lemmer to leave lobs short and Kidder pounced on those chances. Kidder finished with a 7-5, 6-3 victory.
This was a strong one singles bracket, with the top three finishers all being seeded among the top eight players in the state tournament bracket. In the sectional semifinals, Kidder faced Stevens Point freshman Emily Lautschlager. Kidder lost 6-1, 6-0, but Devereux said Kidder played at a high level.
“Mattie was serving well and the girl missed two returns the whole match. The girl gave us no free points,” Devereux said.
Lautschlager takes a 25-2 record to state.
Kidder moved to the third place match where she faced another freshman dynamo, Catherine Lindsey of Eau Claire Memorial. Lindsey scored a 6-0, 6-2 victory to take a 25-4 record to state. Lindsey hits the ball extremely hard and it took some time in the first set for Kidder to adjust to that tempo. The second set was much closer, with Kidder matching that tempo.