When playing on the same high school team with one of the best girls tennis players in the state, let alone the country, you can sometimes get lost in the shuffle.
Chase Eisenberg has been training and playing alongside Jordyn McBride since they were 9 years old, and have been teammates on the West Ranch tennis team for three straight varsity seasons.
Both have been integral parts of the Wildcats’ recent dominance in the Foothill League, and both will be counted upon heavily this season if West Ranch wants to claim a fourth consecutive league title and make a deep run in the CIF-Southern Section playoffs.
McBride often gets the headlines, and deservedly so. She’s currently the No. 8 ranked senior in California and the No. 36 ranked senior in the country according to The Tennis Recruiting Network.
But Eisenberg isn’t far behind, and has been one of the most consistent players in the Foothill League over her varsity career. She’s currently the No. 84 ranked senior in California and is coming off a singles title at the annual Varsity Fall Brawl Tournament at Valencia High School on Saturday.
“She’d be a No. 1 at any other school, I believe that,” said West Ranch head coach Dina McBride. “I’m just happy that people saw her at Fall Brawl and I got so many compliments. People are looking at her in a different light which I’m happy about. She’s a team captain, she does anything for the team. She’s going to help take us deep in CIF.”
Eisenberg defeated Valencia’s top two singles players on her way to the Fall Brawl title, the first of her career. She beat Sydney Thay 6-4, 6-4 in the semifinals and defeated Brenna Whelan 6-0, 6-3 to claim the crown.
Whelan defeated Eisenberg last year in the semis.
“I’ve grown so much as a tennis player and as a person since freshman year,” Eisenberg said. “I’m out there everyday putting hours on the tennis court. To have Dina there as my coach all four years and to have my family and friends supporting me all the way, to win it, especially against a solid Valencia team, Sydney and Brenna, it feels really great. I’m super proud of myself.”
Eisenberg has shown tremendous improvement since joining the JV team as a freshman in 2016. She was named the MVP of the JV team, then won the Most Improved Player award back-to-back years as a member of the varsity squad.
While she’s gotten better over the years in all aspects of the game on the technical side, including her serve and forehand, her biggest improvement has come on the mental side.
Eisenberg is passionate about the sport she plays, and it shows on the court. When she misses an easy shot, she is visibly frustrated. When there is a lack of energy in a match, she’s the first player to pump up her teammates with a “Let’s go Cats” chant.
In the past, her passion has gotten the best of her, but as she has gotten older she’s been able to control her ardor and use it to her advantage.
“The one word that comes to mind is maturity,” McBride said about Eisenberg’s biggest area of improvement. “Maturity in who she is, her confidence, knowing her game and managing her emotions. She’s been great at technique, everything has improved technically, but the biggest jump is her mental approach. She is approaching each match and taking it one point at a time.”
“The biggest thing I’ve had to overcome about my game has been the mental side. That was the hardest part for me,” Eisenberg said. “Tennis is such a big part of my life, it’s important to me how good I play out there. In the past I’ve had a lot of difficulty with just getting way too low when I miss a shot, so I’ve worked a lot with Dina and my mom has helped me a lot too, and through competing in tournaments I’ve learned.”
Instead of getting down on herself when she misses a shot she should have made, she gives herself positive reinforcement and moves on to the next point.
“I try not to talk to myself and say negative things to myself, I try to be much more positive. I talk to myself now as if I’m talking to a teammate so that I only say positive things to myself,” Eisenberg said. “I have little mantras that I say over and over in my head to pump myself up, so just keeping high energy and only positive thoughts out there has made such a big difference for me.”
Eisenberg plans on playing tennis at the college level next year, and is applying early decision to the College of New Jersey.
Along with playing on the tennis team, she wants to study to become an emergency room nurse practitioner.
But first, Eisenberg and the Wildcats have a league title to defend, and though she’s been a part of highly successful West Ranch teams in the past, she believes this year’s squad has the chance to be the best yet.
“I think we have a really good chance to go undefeated and take it into the semis and finals of CIF,” she said. “I think this is the best team we’ve ever had before. We have great chemistry, we all train so hard. I’m so glad for my senior year this is the team that we have because I think we have a good chance to go really far.”