USC tennis player goes to state tourney

Published 11:50 pm Monday, November 2, 2015

With two wins in four matches, United South Central’s Kia Legred made a dent in the state tournament.

Legred, a senior, became the Class A state singles consolation bracket runner-up Friday at the Reed Sweatt Family Tennis Center in Minneapolis.

“Making it this far is awesome, and it’s fun to see everyone up there supporting you,” Legred said. “The atmosphere is great.”

Email newsletter signup

After qualifying for state with the Rebels as a team her sophomore year and with doubles partner, Linsey Thisius, her sophomore and junior years, making the trip to state as a singles player was a first for Legred.

“It’s a little different because you don’t have anyone else to rely on,” she said.

Rebels coach Amanda Henning said Legred made strides in multiple areas.

“Overall the most improvement was in her consistency, aggressiveness and her ability to use a variety of techniques,” Henning said. “She really enhanced her game by becoming more aggressive and aware of when to come to the net to close out points. Furthermore, Kia was very willing to switch up tactics to defeat her opponents.”

Legred posted her first state singles victory in the first round of the consolation bracket Thursday with a 6-4, 6-2 win over LeSueur-Henderson’s Carlie Brandt after falling 6-0, 6-0 in the first round of the championship bracket to Trinity’s Katie Mulvey, the eventual state runner-up.

The win over Brandt avenged a 6-3, 6-4 loss to Brandt during the regular season, Legred said.

To secure a spot in the consolation finals, Legred beat Osakis’ Ashley Kraemer 7-5, 6-0 Friday in the consolation semifinals.

In the consolation title match, Winona Cotter’s Cindy Li edged Legred 6-4, 6-2.

To qualify for the state tournament, Legred, Section 3A’s No. 3 seed, beat Maple River’s Sarah Stromer 6-1, 6-1 on Oct. 9 in the first round of the section tournament. Legred continued with a 6-4, 6-0 victory over Miranda Jacoby of St. Joseph’s Academy in the quarterfinals and a 6-3, 6-4 win over Blue Earth’s Karli Olsen, the No. 2 seed, in the semifinals.

In the section finals, Legred fell 6-3, 6-3 to St. Joseph’s Academy’s Aubrey Eckstrom. Eckstrom won her first match at the state tournament and was eliminated in the quarterfinals.

Although Legred said she is undecided about which college she will attend next season or if she will continue her tennis career at the next level, Henning said that Legred has a solid foundation.

“Kia’s work ethic is second to none,” she said. “She was always working hard, never complained and pushed herself and the rest of the team to their max. She never gives up and strives to do her absolute best at all times with a positive attitude.”