River Hill doubles partners Jeanine Reyes and Lamie Nguyen enjoy successful season thanks to blending of personalities, styles

Twice as much fun

Girls tennis

May 09, 2007|By Glenn Graham | Glenn Graham,SUN REPORTER

Breezing through the competition with two-thirds of the tennis season in the books, senior Jeanine Reyes and junior Lamie Nguyen -- River Hill's No. 1 girls doubles team -- looked like anything but first-time partners.

With Reyes' consistent ground strokes at the baseline complementing Nguyen's big serve and fine all-around game, the two were undefeated and barely tested until they found Atholton's senior tandem of Grace Chong and Morgan Miller on the other side of the court on April 23.

Reyes and Nguyen lost the first three games and were later down 2-5 before rallying for an 8-6 win, relying on a familiar formula.

"It was like the whole one-point-at-a-time thing -- not to stress and just have fun," Reyes said of their approach in playing from behind.

The duo is certainly having plenty of fun this spring, enjoying a 14-0 record, with the girls team also undefeated with a 15-0 mark.

Reyes played some tennis with her father and grandfather when she was a little girl, but didn't take it seriously until the summer before her freshman year, when her goal was to make the team at River Hill. She was happy to be an alternate her first two years, jumped to the No. 2 doubles team last season and then wasn't sure where she would be slotted or whom she would play with this spring.

Nguyen started playing when she was 6, gave it up and then resumed playing just prior to tryouts during her freshman season. She started at No. 3 doubles and worked her way up to No. 1 singles as a freshman, jumped to No. 1 singles last season and then moved back to No. 1 doubles with Reyes this spring.

"I think the best part about doubles is just having someone you enjoy playing with. We just get along so well," Nguyen said. "The biggest adjustment is having another player there to talk things out with. When you're down, they can bring you back up and when they're down, they can rely on you to bring them back up."

When Croatian foreign-exchange student Maja Tadic came to River Hill and junior Grace Cheng returned after studying abroad for a year (the two are undefeated at No. 1 and No. 2 singles, respectively), first-year coach Maureen Shelley decided to pair up Reyes and Nguyen to lead the doubles' contingent.

Reyes and Nguyen took it from there.

"It really is amazing that they adjusted so well to each other so soon," Shelley said. "I think they just intuitively know where each other needs to be on the court. It's almost like watching a ballet. There's not much coaching I have to do with the two and they don't have any real weaknesses."

The two have much more in common than just tennis.

Both get all A's, have busy schedules of extracurricular school activities and want to follow a similar career path.

Reyes plans to attend Maryland to follow in both her parents' footsteps to become a pediatrician. Along with being a tennis team captain, she is a member of the National Honor Society, the vice president of the Student Government Association and is the coordinator for SOAR, a program that helps train tutors.

"I just love learning -- it's a mind-set and it's sort of like a hobby," she said. "And with the year winding down, I also want to spend time with all the friends I've had since like kindergarten, because next year you won't get a chance to be with them."

When Nguyen, also a captain, was asked what else she enjoys doing, she came back with a smile and said, "Ah, so much!" She then rattled off all the different clubs she takes part in, from the National Honor Society to the writers club to the French club and more. At the top of her college wish list is Princeton, with a plan to study biology in a pre-med program.

Before all that, there's still some tennis to be played at River Hill. The county championship begins today, followed by regional and -- potentially -- state play for the pair.

"In a way, it's sort of been a turn of luck that we got paired together. But I think it was meant to be because we play so well together," Nguyen said. "I remember my freshman year, Jeanine was so bubbly and outgoing that we were close. But now, we're a lot closer, and it's been so fun."

Win or lose from here on, Reyes said she couldn't have asked for a better tennis ending at River Hill.

"I started just wanting to make the tennis team

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