Emma Conrad didn’t dare dream as a sophomore two years ago that she’d eventually be joining her predecessor, Lexie Gregory, in Nixa’s 1000-dig club.
“Sophomore year, I came in and was just excited to be on the team and didn’t expect to be playing,” Conrad said. “I never expected to be where I am.”
Conrad has now held down the Lady Eagles’ starting libero job for three seasons. She reached the 1,000 dig milestone at the Blue Springs South Tournament in September and currenly has 374 digs this season and 1,140 digs for her career.
Looking back, Conrad values the lessons she learned provided by Gregory during the latter’s senior season. Gregory holds the program’s career digs record with 1,396.
“Lexi was such a huge role model for me. Her presence on the court and effort for every single ball was something I looked up to so much,” Conrad said. “I was in awe of her. She was so incredible at her job. My freshman year, she took all the defenders under her wing and showed us the ropes on how to play. I’m so appreciative of her and still have so much admiration for her now while she's in college (at Central Arkansas). ”
Conrad has created her own legacy as part of two COC undefeated championship teams and another COC co-championship team.
Coach Annie Zimmerman has been able to rely on Conrad anchoring the Lady Eagles’ back-row defense.
“(Emma’s) 1,000th career dig was a big moment for her that we were excited to share,” Zimmerman said. “She has been a very consistent, solid, stable presence for our back row and serve-receive. We’re very lucky she is one of ours.”
Conrad has become Zimmerman’s go-to player to relay strategy to the rest of the back row.
"She talks to me about the defense,” Conrad said. “I’m supposed to be in charge of that, so we talk about it all the time.”
Looking ahead, Conrad is counting on another long Nixa post-season run.
“I’m not ready for it to be over and it doesn’t seem like it’s coming to an end, yet,” she said. “It’s been the greatest four years. I’m so happy to be in this program.”
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