Jackie Kawamoto admits to being more vocal than her older-by-a-few-minutes twin sister, Jade.
On or away from the tennis court, Jackie’s voice is the one heard more often. Her expressions, whether rooted in feelings of frustration or joy, tend to be more recognizable.
Physically identical, their personalities are different.
The same holds true in tennis.
Jackie swings a tennis racket with her right hand. Jade is a left-hander and tends to attack opponents from different angles.
The recent Greenwood Community High School graduates move into their respective dorm rooms — no, they are not rooming
together — at the University of Dayton on Aug. 23. Preseason conditioning and preparations for the Flyers’ 2014 women’s tennis season begins the following week.
It’s the job of third-year Dayton coach Ryan Meyer to utilize the Kawamotos’ skills in order to best serve a program that a year ago finished with a 4-15 record and on the wrong end of 10 shutout losses.
Maybe Jackie and Jade play singles. Or doubles. Or both. Points, after all, are points.
“It’s a work in progress. This level is totally different, though I do see Jackie and Jade contributing right away in both singles and doubles,” said Meyer, 29, a player on the Franklin College men’s tennis team who later served as a Grizzlies assistant coach. “One thing I’m interested in with the twins is how they play together. I see them as being very strong and playing No. 2 or No. 3 doubles.
“You want to have some variety out there, but they balance each other out and know each other’s strengths and weaknesses.”
Partnering in doubles is an appealing option for the sisters, both of whom were singles specialists throughout their spectacular three-year high school careers.
“(Meyer) said he would like to play us together. The last time we did that was probably last summer at the Midwest Qualifier tournament,” said Jade, who is coming off a 26-1 season and a second-place finish at the IHSAA State Singles Finals. “College tennis is going to be a lot more competitive. A whole different level.
“In doubles, you have to get along with your partner and have a game-plan so you can play along with them.”
Jackie anticipates no problem getting along with Jade, should they be paired.
“I’m excited about it because we didn’t get to play doubles together in high school,” said Jackie, the 2013 IHSAA state singles champion. “I’m sort of the mouthy one. More controlling when it comes to doubles.
“But as twins, we already have that connection.”
Meyer sees the Kawamotos’ differences as a bonus in terms of tennis.
Academically, the siblings both carried a 4.2 grade-point average at Greenwood and fit nicely into Dayton’s longstanding reputation for having its athletes also excel in the classroom.
Jackie plans to major in biology. Jade will major in environmental biology.
“I see them as players who can take our program to a new level,” said Meyer, whose Flyers open the season close to the twins’ old stomping grounds when they compete at the Butler Invitational on Sept. 13 and 14. “They’re good academically and have good attitudes.
“What more can you ask for?”
Joining the twins as part of Dayton’s freshmen class is Marlys Bridgham of Gibsonia, Pennsylvania. Bridgham captured the Pennsylvania singles state championship this past fall without dropping a set in the entire tournament.