LONGMONT — You can see it in her eyes, and you can hear it in her words.
Longmont senior tennis player Rebecca Eisele may be in her second year of No. 1 singles play for the Trojans, but in both focus and skill, she is a completely different player on the court. There is hope that carries her to a berth in the state tournament.
After her 6-1, 6-0 win against Mountain View's Kristen Molinario in Tuesday's dual meet at the LHS courts — part of a 7-0 sweep for the Trojans — Eisele approached head coach Michael Merz with a smile and a critique of her own game. It's a breath of fresh air to Merz when that happens.
"She knows what she needs to work on and that's just awesome. I've seen her grow up like that," Merz said of one of his top returners. "She's focused and understands what she needs to do. There's a composure and focus there that is cool to see. She wants to win and wants to play the good players we have in our region."
It's appropriate that Eisele is into photography, because right now she is seeing the big picture through the little details. It's early in the season, and Longmont has plenty of stiff competition ahead including a Thursday dual with Silver Creek, but she has visions of getting through a tough regional this year.
Her game certainly has looked crisp in two matches thus far.
"I really want it, so I'm going to try my best. I was really excited coming into the season and just couldn't wait for it," Eisele said. "I noticed in my first match just how much more experienced I feel. I've grown a lot. I'm more thinking about anticipating where the opponent might hit as well as their antics. And also attack what they're not good at.
"I'm practicing like I want to play. Nothing's perfect, but I feel really good so far."
The Trojans, who will host their own invitational after the St. Vrain Valley spring break, have all started out well but are eager for the chance to play some of the heavyweights in the Northern League and through their region.
But so far the entire lineup has done its due diligence. Senior Jessie Herold showed some moxie on Tuesday by rallying to beat her opponent at No. 2 singles, 3-6, 6-2, 6-0, and freshman Taylor Merz fought through sickness to earn a 6-2, 6-0 victory at No. 3 singles.
As for the doubles teams, which combined to give up just seven games, Merz said he's seen an unusual evenness about them across the board. Last year's No. 1 doubles team represented LHS at state, but Merz has new combinations filling up those slots and finding their way as partners.
One thing is for sure, and that is there is an element of fun to watching the girls enjoy the time on the court.
"I saw some different things today, some good things, but I think after Silver Creek we'll have a better understanding of where we need to be," Merz said. "It'll be a tough regional once again, but if we have attitudes like Rebecca, anything is possible."
Longmont 7, Mountain View 0
At Longmont HS courts
Singles — 1. Rebecca Eisele, L, def. Kristen Molinario, MV, 6-1, 6-0; 2. Jessie Harold, L, def. Mercedes Reashaw, 3-6, 6-2, 6-0; 3. Taylor Merz, L, def. Kendall Krieger, 6-2, 6-0.
Doubles — 1. Miranda Aker/Trista Woelfle, L, def. Hannah Jobman/Justina Meese, 6-2, 6-0; 2. Kyra Foote/Melanie Reeves, L, def. Mallory/Dusty Berglund, 6-0, 6-4; 3. Madi Jayne/Eva D'Epagnier, L, def. Kelsey Smith/Natalie Alsum, 6-0, 6-0; 4. Tanna Carson/Natalie Garcia, L, def. Kramin Whipple/Madison West, 6-0, 6-1.