In the tennis world, with its hyper-competitive youth development programs and year-round tournament schedule, the Przystawski twins were considered late to the party when they picked up rackets as 12-year-olds.
They proved to be quick studies.
“We just fell in love with it from the start,” said Emily. “We wanted to be good.”
Now seniors at Assumption and ranked among the state’s best, it is safe to say they have made up for lost time.
Emily, No. 2 in Kentucky’s 18-and-under division, is off to a 5-2 start this season and has committed to play at Wofford College (S.C.).
Elizabeth carries a No. 7 ranking and is undefeated in both singles (3-0) and doubles (4-0). She and Maddie Phillips claimed Assumption’s first doubles tennis state championship last season.
Elizabeth has signed with Bradley University.
According to Larry Kline, a pro and part-owner of Louisville Tennis Club who has trained the Przystawskis for several years, Emily and Elizabeth’s approaches to the game could not be more different.
“Elizabeth is aggressive, hits the ball hard and looks to finish points early,” he said. “Emily is consistent, moves the ball around the court and keeps a lot of balls in play.”
Kline, whose daughter Lauren was the state singles champ in ’08 and ’09, has taught the game for 32 years and rates the Przystawskis as two of his favorites.
“They are great girls on and off the court. They’ve got great attitudes and they work very hard,” he said.
Marge Rausch, first year head coach at Assumption, echoed Kline’s sentiments. “Tennis can be a very egotistical sport, but they don’t have an ounce of that in them,” she said.
“They are every coach’s dream – truly nice girls who will do anything I ask,” added Rausch.
Even with a hectic training and competition schedule, Emily and Elizabeth have found time for meaningful experiences off the court.
Last month, as part of Assumption’s Mission Week, Elizabeth and Emily traveled to Solsberry, IN where they spent five days volunteering. Projects included insulating a barn, working at a center for women and children, and helping construct a home as part of the Habitat for Humanity program.
“We helped put up the sides of a house one day,” said Elizabeth. “It was hard, but really fun.”
As a team the Rockets (6-1) were runners-up at last year’s state tournament and claimed back-to-back regional titles in ’09 and ’10.
In addition to the Przystawskis, Assumption boasts two more of the area’s top players in senior Maddie Phillips and sophomore Abbie Mather.
Phillips, a Western Kentucky signee, is an aggressive player who thrives at the net. “She is a great athlete and our team’s leader skill-wise,” said Rausch.
Mather, a promising young talent, is ranked No. 4 in the state among 16-and-under-girls.
“She’s only going to get better. Next year she’ll be the leader of our team,” said Rausch.
For Emily and Elizabeth, next fall will mark the first time that they’ve spent more than a couple of weeks apart.
The distance may be harder on parents Brian and Susan, who will try to see as many matches as possible.
“I won’t be staying home much. I’ll be looking at both of their schedules and planning,” said Susan.
Emily, who maintains a 3.8 GPA in honors courses, said committing to Wofford was an easy decision.
“Right when I saw the campus, I knew it was where I wanted to go,” she said. “I really like the team and it just felt like the perfect fit.”
Wofford head coach Katie Hangstefer can’t wait to have her on campus. “I’m very excited she’s coming,” she said. “She will be a great addition to our team.”
Emily wants to be a doctor and will enter the pre-med program next year.
Elizabeth carries a 3.5 GPA and plans to study elementary education at Bradley. She would like to teach second grade.
The twins are confident they can handle being more than 700 miles apart.
“It’s going to take some getting used to,” said Elizabeth.
“Thank god for Skype and texting,” added Susan.
Next for the Rockets
Assumption at Collegiate (Tyler Park), April 21, 4 p.m.
Assumption at Sacred Heart, April 27, 4 p.m.
photos by CHRIS CAHILL | contributing photographer