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Santa Maria Sun / Athlete of the Week

The following article was posted on November 12th, 2013, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 14, Issue 36 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 14, Issue 36

Eliza Nash and Paige Jensen

Santa Ynez High School Tennis

BY KRISTINA SEWELL


ELIZA NASH AND PAIGE JENSEN
PHOTO COURTESY JENNIFER RASMUSSEN

Eliza Nash and Paige Jensen comprise a formidable force on the tennis court. Both sophomores at Santa Ynez High School, they were recently named female athletes of the week at the Roundtable luncheon. The doubles team outplayed competition to hold onto the No. 2 seed this season.

That is, until they played Bree Jensen and Reagan Mroz, the No. 1 seeded team—also from Santa Ynez Valley High School. After going undefeated this season, Paige Jensen and Nash defeated their teammates 7-6, 3-6, and came back in the tiebreaker match to win, 10-8.

“It was intense because we are close to them and played with them every day,” Jensen said.

Continued Nash, “We also had to beat the No. 3 seed from SYHS in the semi finals, too.”

Nash and Jensen made the varsity team together as freshmen last season. They played on the same team in middle school.

“I still call the girls freshmen because they are so funny and carefree, but their tennis has improved tremendously this year,” coach Jennifer Rasmussen said. “They proved at the [Los Padres League] finals [that] they are capable of playing top-level tennis.”

Rasmussen said the pair has worked hard on team play this year, as well as helping each other to the next level.

“They both have great ground strokes and serves,” she said. “Their tough play made the No. 1 doubles team pick up their game.”

The coach added that she sees these athletes sticking together and only getting tougher as they progress in their high school tennis career.

For Jensen and Nash, their success can be attributed to practicing their serves and ground game throughout the season, and helping each other work on their game.

“The key is not arguing and staying positive. We always give each other advice,” Jensen said.

The doubles pair said tennis has become a way of life for them. Both girls have played tennis from a young age and say that the sport is in their blood because they come from tennis-playing families.

While both girls have enjoyed a tremendous amount of success, they said they learn from both their wins and losses.

“I learn through losses because it shows me what I need to work on, while wins keep me positive,” Jensen said.

Added Nash, “You learn what to work on next when you lose, and when you win you can develop better strategies.”

The pair took a trip to CIF last year and made it all the way to the semi finals. That defeat showed them what they needed to work on for the next time around. They started off this season’s CIF play with a victory over El Segundo, and entered second-round play last week. The team has one goal—a championship title.

“We have to keep focused and cannot have any distractions,” Jensen said.

Added Nash, “We came close last year and this year we are much stronger.”