Metamora High School Girls Tennis

Tom Batters
Megan Nguyen

Brad Boeker looked over at Megan Nguyen, who had just arrived for summer practice at the Metamora High School tennis courts, and said, “You see? She’s smiling. If you ever see her without a smile on her face, then something is wrong.”

Sure enough, Nguyen, who will be a senior in the fall, was smiling, but Boeker said her affable personality becomes something quite different when she steps onto the court.

“She’s a very talented player and a tough competitor,” he said. “Off the court, she’s a great kid. Everybody likes her. On the court, she is no fun to play against.”

Nguyen will play No. 1 singles for the Redbirds after playing behind three-time Sectional champ Taylor Koehrsen last year. Koehrsen graduated and will play at Creighton University.

Nguyen said she is ready to compete for a Sectional title of her own in the fall, but she acknowledged that it will not be handed to her.

She will have to earn it.

If that means a little more practice, then she is fine with that.

“My dad makes me practice just about every day,” she said. “We have fun, but there are times when it gets pretty serious. We know when it’s time to stop messing around and get to work.”

The long practice sessions are nothing new.

She started working on her trademark serve the summer before her eighth grade year. After hitting more than 100 balls a day every day for about two years, she mastered the serve, which Boeker calls “a weapon.”

“She has the best serve in the area,” he said. “It really works to her advantage. It allows her to get some easy points. If you have a little dink serve, then you always have to grind out every point. Megan can overpower other players with that strong serve.”

Boeker recently took continuous action photos of Nguyen’s serve. When he reviewed the photos, he said he was amazed.

“It looked like something you would find in a tennis magazine,” he said. “Her form was perfect. That comes from studying it and perfecting it. She has put a lot of work into it.”

Her other shots aren’t too bad either.

“Megan practices really hard,” Boeker said. “She gets that from her dad. She hit thousands and thousands of balls over the winter, and she is really confident heading into this season.”

Nguyen beat Koehrsen in a tournament this winter. It was the first time she ever beat her former teammate (Koehrsen beat Nguyen in the Sectional title match last year).

“That shows how well she’s playing,” Boeker said. “Beating Taylor isn’t easy.”

Boeker said Koehrsen helped Nguyen become a better player last year.

“Those two played against each other in practice every day, and those matches were more competitive than some of our regular season matches,” he said.

Boeker said Nguyen is ready to follow in Koehrsen’s footsteps.

“Megan feels like this is her time —not in an arrogant way — she just feels like she is ready to reach her goals.”

Nguyen said she enjoyed being on the same team as Koehrsen for four years.

“I really looked up to her,” she said.”

Her younger brother Mitchell, a freshman on the MTHS boys tennis team, also helps.

Mitchell won a Sectional doubles title (with Quinn Vaughn) and qualified for the state tournament.

“He’s such a great player. Before his freshman year, we would practice together every day,” she said. “He beats me now, though. So I don’t like to play him that much anymore.”

She said that with a smile, of course.