The Neosho Lady Wildcats featured one senior and the rest were sophomores and juniors during their 2-13 campaign last season.
For the first time in a couple seasons, Neosho will have mostly a veteran roster of players with multiple years of varsity experience.
“We were able to pick up a couple of victories last year and with returning most of our varsity we would like to add to that number,” Neosho head coach Nick Hays said. “I think the team has good chemistry and is good at helping each other out and providing constructive advice.
“As with most seasons, we want to see growth. We have a lot of new players this year, but a solid core as well. I would like to see us add victories, yet also get our new players some good habits. I am glad that we are adding numbers as that will only help us get better in the future.”
Key among the returning players is junior Emily Mitchell, who has been the Lady Wildcats’ No. 1 singles player since her freshman season.
Mitchell paired with classmate Michelle Lindsay last season in No. 1 doubles.
Other returning players are Sarah Werner, Rylee Marion, and Emily Galbraith.
The Lady Wildcats open their season Sept. 3 at home against Central Ozark Conference foe Republic, the first of nine conference duals.
It might be helpful for the Lady Wildcats to start the season with three straight home duals, with Aurora and Willard following Republic on back-to-back-to-back dates.
Hays named Ozark, Republic, Branson, and Joplin as toughest opponents this season and like the rest of the fall sports, Neosho awaits classification for the new season.
Joplin reached the final eight in Class 2 last season, and won the District 11 tournament after narrowly defeating both Republic (5-4) and Carthage (5-4).
Carthage blanked Neosho 5-0 in the opening round. Other schools in the district last season included Willard and Parkview.
The Lady Wildcats play duals outside the conference against Aurora, Monett, Mount Vernon, College Heights, and Lamar.
Neosho also travels to Republic and Thomas Jefferson (Joplin) for tournaments.
2019 NEOSHO GIRLS TENNIS
Sept. 3 — vs. Republic
Sept. 4 — vs. Aurora
Sept. 5 — vs. Willard
Sept. 10 — at Carl Junction
Sept. 11 — at Monett
Sept. 12 — at Ozark
Sept. 16 — vs. Mount Vernon
Sept. 17 — vs. Carthage
Sept. 19 — vs. Branson
Sept. 20 — Republic Tournament
Sept. 23 — at Nixa
Sept. 24 — vs. Webb City
Sept. 26 — at College Heights Christian
Sept. 30 — at Lamar
Oct. 1 — at Joplin
Oct. 3 — COC Tournament
Oct. 4 — Thomas Jefferson Tournament