New Richmond's Anderson and Kidder earn their shot at WIAA state tennis
New Richmond's Kaycie Anderson and Mattie Kidder have played at an extremely high tennis level all season.
When it mattered most, they continued to play that way. Anderson and Kidder qualified for the WIAA Division 1 State Individual Championships by earning third place in the one doubles flight in the Wausau East Division 1 sectional tournament last Wednesday.
Anderson and Kidder are scheduled to play their opening round at the state tournament at 6 p.m. on Thursday. The Tiger tandem carries a 10-1 record into the state tournament. Their opening opponent at state will be the Sheboygan North team of Jamie Testwuide and Connor Dlugoposki, who have a 14-6 record this season. While Anderson and Kidder reach state as a third seed from the sectional level, the Sheboygan North team placed second in its sectional meet.
New Richmond coach Denise Komula said her team is going to state with definite goals.
"They want to show they deserve to be there," Devereux said. "They would definitely like to advance a round."
New Richmond's duo has shown that it can play competitively with top teams in the state. Their only loss before sectionals was to the one doubles team from Green Bay Notre Dame that is ranked eighth in the state tournament bracket and that loss came in three sets.
To advance to state, the Tigers scored wins in two of their three sectional tournament matches. The critical match was their first, because it locked the Tigers into a state tournament spot. Anderson and Kidder were fully ready for the opportunity, defeating Jolene Ladewig and Morgan Wilde of Merrill 6-1, 6-1.
In the semifinals Kidder and Anderson faced the top seed from the other subsectional, Caroline Krolicki and Mallory Wanserski from Wausau East. Wausau East won the first three games of the opening set as the Tigers adjusted to the hard-hitting style of their opponents.
"Those girls hit a very hard forehand. Our second serves were being drilled back at our net person," Devereux said.
Wausau won the opening set 6-4, but the Tigers came back to take the second set 6-4. Wausau was able to win the first three games of the third set and the Tigers couldn't regain that much ground, losing 6-2.
That moved the Tigers into the third place match against Hudson's Bailey Knight and Alex Johnson. The Tigers beat Hudson early in the season and they showed they were the superior team again, winning 6-2, 6-3.
Coaches at the sectional were amazed that Anderson and Kidder have played just 11 matches as a doubles team because they worked in unison so well.
"They have jelled really well together for playing so little together," Devereux said.
New Richmond was also represented at the sectional meet by their number three doubles team, seniors Shannon Peper and Emma Meisner. They became the first Tigers who weren't at one singles or doubles to qualify for sectionals since the Tigers were elevated to Division 1 in the middle of the past decade.
They opened the sectional facing the undefeated team from Stevens Point. Point won 6-1, 6-4, but that isn't an indication of how the Tigers played.
"They played really well," Devereux said. "The first set could easily have been a 4-1 start to us. It was that close."
In the third place match Meisner and Peper won the opening set against Marshfield 6-1. Marshfield came back to take the final two sets 6-2, 6-3. Meisner and Peper end their season with a 21-9 record.