SE: Niedermayerova Takes on New Challenge in Boston

September 28, 2015
By Kelly McHugh-Stewart
Former Wildcat tennis star Petra Niedermayerova has her hands full at Boston University, but she’s enjoying the challenge. 
The 2014 Big 12 Tennis Scholar-Athlete of the Year and 2014 ITA Scholar-Athlete, Niedermayerova is currently in her second year of Boston University’s PhD in economics program.  
“I definitely spend more time in the library than I have in my whole life,” said Niedermayerova during a recent weekend visit back to Manhattan. “It is pretty demanding. Playing tennis here was hard, but this is hard in a completely different way.” 
A five-year program, earning a PhD at Boston University is no easy task. 
“There is a lot of material to learn in the first year,” she explained. “I’ve been lucky because the policy right now in my program is that they only accept people (for the second year) who they want to keep in the program, so I’m glad they were interested in letting me stay.” 
While Niedermayerova may say she is lucky getting into the PhD program’s second year, the truth is, she earned it. 
When it comes to both performance on the court and performance in the classroom, Niedermayerova is among K-State’s finest.
A native of Brno, Czech Republic, Niedermayerova is the only Wildcat tennis player in the history of the program to earn 100-plus singles wins. Her singles play record of 105-42 is the best ever by a Wildcat, but it’s not the only history she made. Niedermayerova is also the only tennis player in school history to play in four NCAA Singles Championships.  
“I think playing sports gives you a strong work ethic,” she explained. “I learned (at K-State) that it’s okay to be busy. I know it’s okay to be pressed with time, but I definitely carried the work ethic over with me from here and also I think I got to know the U.S. mentality here and that helps a lot.”
Off the court, Niedermayerova was a three-time Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-America At-Large First Team selection as well as a three-time Academic All-Big 12 First Team recipient (2012-14). She graduated from K-State with a 3.98 GPA in economics, and was also a 2014 Big 12 Dr. Prentice Gautt Postgraduate Scholarship winner. 
At Boston University, Niedermayerova said she is the only student in her program (that she knows of) who was formerly a student-athlete, so she’s now surrounded by a completely different crowd. 
“Here at K-State, I considered myself to be a little bit of a nerd,” Niedermayerova said with a laugh, “but there I’m the complete opposite of a nerd! Those people are just crazy into school, everyone loves what they’re doing.”
Though she’s nearly 1,500 miles away, Niedermayerova said she still stays in touch with former teammates and keeps up with the happenings of K-State tennis. She said she texts and talks to Wildcat head coach Danielle Steinberg often and is proud of the growth she’s seen in the program since Steinberg took over last summer. 
“One year is a very short time to actually see a lot of results, but I think the results are internal right now,” said Niedermayerova. “The results will show up later on, but the review from my teammates has been pretty good. It’s exciting for the program.”
K-State tennis opened its fall season this weekend at the OU Invite in Norman, Oklahoma. Redshirt sophomore Sara Castellano highlighted the Wildcats’ weekend by reaching as far as the semifinals before finishing in third place in the Boomer Draw (improving on her fourth-place last season in the same tournament). Meanwhile, freshman Ana Garcia Navas of Spain bounced back from a tournament-opening loss in her K-State debut and won three straight matches to close out the weekend.
For more on the Wildcats’ entire slate of results, please click here
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The K-State offense broke out for a season-high .388 attack percentage to help it snap a four-match losing streak with a sweep of Baylor (25-20, 25-10, 25-23) on Saturday in Ahearn Field House. 
The Wildcats (9-5, 1-1 Big 12) earned the victory in their Big 12 home opener by hitting over .300 against Baylor (11-3, 0-1 Big 12) for the first time since 2008. K-State never hit below .351 in any of the three sets – and as high as .481 in the second – while committing just two unforced attack errors (nine errors total). Overall, K-State had just 14 total errors to Baylor’s 22.
“I thought we played extremely well,” said K-State head coach Suzie Fritz. “We hit high .300’s – that’s rolling along pretty well. We didn’t press – sometimes in those tight-game situations you can press, make more service errors, attacking errors, net fouls, things like that. We stayed consistent and pretty low error. I thought that was the difference in the end.”
For game highlights, the box score and to continue reading about the Wildcat volleyball team’s weekend win, please click here.

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