The Neosho Lady Wildcats kept their season alive and experienced the thrill of winning one more time with a 5-2 win Monday over Hillcrest in the Class 2, District 11 quarterfinals at the Neosho Tennis Courts. The Lady Wildcats — 3-12 — earned the right to play top seed Kickapoo in the semifinals on Tuesday in Springfield.

Hillcrest won its only two matches Monday in doubles play, while Neosho won four singles matches to hit the magic five wins mark in the best-of-nine format.

In singles competition, No. 1 Emily Mitchell defeated her opponent 6-1, 6-1; No. 2 Sarah Werner defeated her opponent 6-0, 6-1; No. 5 Mariah Pina defeated her opponent 6-1, 6-1; and No. 6 Morgan Brattin defeated her opponent 6-0, 6-0.

In doubles play, No. 3 Kennedy Watts and Morgan Brattin won their match 8-3, while No. 1 Mitchell-Pina and No. 2 Werner-Bailey Scribner lost their matches.

Neosho head coach Nick Hays agreed to an interview near the start of the competition Monday night, touching on subjects like seeding a field with schools from different conferences who might not play each other during the regular season (like, for example, Neosho only faced Republic in the regular season) and the progress made by a young Lady Wildcat team this season.

“They did the best they could with some kind of connection,” Hays said. “It’s tough to find a common opponent, but this looks like a tough match. Coming out here, you never know what you’re going to get, but it looks like this should be close.

“A lot (of progression). I’m definitely proud of how our freshmen and sophomores have come along this year and shown improvement at the end. Hopefully, we can build on that with our offseason stuff and have a better showing and try and pick up a few more wins in 2018.”

Neosho’s lineup included freshman Mitchell, sophomore Werner, senior Scribner, junior Watts, Pina, and freshman Brattin. Mitchell and Werner are likely facing upperclassmen in the No. 1 and No. 2 spots, something that might toughen both players up in future seasons.

“If you’ve got a freshman and a sophomore up in your top two spots, that means that either probably you’re going to have a pretty good season or kind of a tough season,” Hays said. “We’ve had a tough season, but I just try and tell them to keep their head up and don’t get frustrated, you’re learning this year, and build on it for next year.

“Hopefully, next year and the year after, we are having a bigger impact in conference and district, more like last year. This year, we just have to do what we can and learn on the way.”

Just two seasons before, Neosho lost only two regular season duals and battled Joplin for a district title and sectional berth.