Emme moving up in doubles

The freshman was on the team’s No. 1 doubles pair facing Northern Illinois.

Jack White

Paula Rincon-Otero talked strategy with freshman teammate Annemarie Emme on the court as a smile came across Emme’s face.
 
 
The first-year player had plenty to be excited about, as she was paired with the senior in the Gophers No. 1 doubles spot against Northern Illinois, and the two delivered a 6-1 victory on Jan. 17.
 
 
“[Emme] probably is one of our best doubles players, if not our best,” head coach Chuck Merzbacher said. “She deservingly should be there. She really knows what she’s doing with doubles.”
 
 
Emme is 8-6 in singles and 10-5 in doubles in her freshman season so far.
 
 
Before arriving at Minnesota, Emme won multiple United States Tennis Association national and Midwest doubles titles at the G16 and G18 levels. She said some of the strengths of her game are highlighted in doubles.
 
 
“One of my best shots is my serve,” Emme said. “If my serve is on, everything else kind of follows with that. I also like [being close to] the net a lot, and that’s why I like doubles probably a little more. I feel really comfortable at the net.”
 
 
The Glenview, Ill., native also competed at the high school level and was a two-time All-State selection. She had a 34-0 record her junior year.
 
 
Emme started off her college career at the Gopher Invite and was part of the “B” flight for singles. She also had a 5-1 doubles record at the event.
 
 
The freshman said playing against lower competition at the beginning of the fall season helped her later on.
 
 
“The ‘B’ flight was a little easier,” Emme said. “It gave me confidence heading into practice to be more confident in my shot.”
 
 
Emme compiled a 6-6 record in singles in the fall and is 2-0 in singles this spring. Merzbacher said between seasons the freshman was able to improve her footwork, consistency and overall fitness.
 
 
Sophomore Caroline Ryba, who went to Glenbrook South High School with Emme, said similar things about her teammate.
 
 
“In high school, she was really offensive, just an aggressive kind of player,” Ryba said. “She still is, but I think her game has got a lot better … more consistent.”
 
 
Emme will be in the lineup for the Gophers when they continue their spring season this weekend in College Station, Texas, though Merzbacher wouldn’t say if she would stay in the No. 1 doubles spot.
 
 
Either way, the Gophers will expect her to keep up her strong start to the spring.
 
 
“She can hit,” Merzbacher said. “She’s not afraid of someone hitting hard at her. She can hit hard back. She can hit hard with more consistency.”