TENNIS : Drop shot: Jensen sees most cohesive unit in 5-year tenure despite loss of key trio

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Comments Published on January 26, 2011 at 12:00 pmcenter_img Emily Harman walked off the court without finishing her match.Notre Dame had clinched a victory over the Syracuse tennis team in the second round of the 2010 Big East tournament, and there was nothing Harman could do about it. She left the court with the empty, disappointed feeling because her match could not make a difference.After congratulating her opponent, she and the Syracuse team trudged through the inclement weather to the van. The players and coaches piled in for the long drive that would conclude their season. Before they made their way back to Syracuse, however, the team had a talk.Head coach Luke Jensen congratulated his team on its hard work to get to the tournament. Every girl spoke about what the season had meant to her.‘It was a very emotional moment for all of us,’ Harman said.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThat was just the start of a whirlwind, emotional offseason for SU. In the nine months since the loss to Notre Dame, three key players have dropped off the roster, including C.C. Sardinha, a freshman last season who moved up to the No. 1 singles spot, and Eleanor Peters, who had the most collective wins of any member of the Orange.Despite this, however, Jensen thinks the Orange has solidified into a more cohesive team. And in his fifth year at the helm of a Syracuse program he built from the ground up, Jensen will rely on the seniors of his first recruiting class, combined with a mix of youth, to get over the loss of those two players and departing senior Chelsea Jones. And to aim for his No. 1 target: Notre Dame.‘Notre Dame is our target,’ Jensen said. ‘It’s got to be our target.’That won’t be easy with the losses. Sardinha transferred to Oklahoma State shortly after SU’s loss in the Big East tournament. She was a highly touted recruit who quickly worked her way up from the bottom of SU’s singles lineup to the top. She went 16-5 in singles play last season.Sardinha informed the coaching staff of her decision shortly after the Big East tournament. Jensen said she left to be closer to her grandmother. But Harman thought she was considering the move even before the tournament.‘I didn’t know personally from her,’ Harman said. ‘I had my suspicions, but you never know with collegiate teams.’Peters was unable to return to the team because she wasn’t granted a redshirt year, Jensen said. Peters hovered around the middle of the lineup but had the most wins of anyone on the team.Jensen said Peters is playing in professional tournaments near her home in Washington, D.C. Harman and Jensen also said Peters is another huge, unexpected loss to the team.And the last part of those losses is Jones, a departing senior who walked on to the team the year before Jensen took over as the head coach. Jones hadn’t been on the professional circuit, unlike all of SU’s younger players. Despite being a strong doubles player, she was unable to provide the same experience on the court.With those three important pieces gone, SU will rely on three freshmen to fill the void: Maddie Kobelt, Aleah Marrow and Eva Raszkiewicz. The time they’ve spent playing professional tournaments has put them in a good position to do so.‘They’ll fight their tails off to the very end, and that’s what we need,’ Harman said. ‘No negative energy at all. It’s great to be with them. It’s great to have them on the team. They make me better every day.’This group of recruits contributes to the cohesiveness of the team because they buy into what the team is doing, Jensen said. College has more of a team aspect than playing on the pro circuit, and Jensen tries to emphasize that with his players.Each of those recruits brings something unique to the Orange. Jensen thinks Marrow is the best athlete he has had in his five years at SU. Raszkiewicz came over from Europe after much convincing from Jensen. And Kobelt has one of the best all-around games Jensen has seen at Syracuse.But the attitude of cohesion is what stood out most to Kobelt when she visited SU.‘What stuck in my mind was the attitude that the girls had,’ she said. ‘All the girls on this team — even though they were dead in the battle of their matches — they were all cheering for themselves and cheering for their teammates and being supportive.’And the second part of replacing those players includes Jensen’s first recruiting class — now seniors — stepping up. Seniors Christina Tan and Simone Kalhorn, who were already captains last year with the absence of more experienced seniors, will lead the way. Tan said beyond their ability on the court, however, it is their familiarity with SU tennis in particular that has helped the recruits.‘We’ve been through the program for three and a half years now, so the experience is there,’ Tan said. ‘In terms of knowing exactly what’s going on and really helping the newer ones with everything, with on-court stuff and off-court stuff.’The cohesion of the team also leads to an even playing field and tight competition. Tan said the entire team has a pretty even skill level, so anyone could end up at No. 1 on any given week.After close challenge matches, Alessondra Parra earned that spot for this weekend’s matches. This will be the first time in her two and a half seasons at SU that Parra will move above No. 3.‘I think we have a team that is very equal,’ Jensen said. ‘Usually on a team you get one, two, maybe three players that set themselves apart from everybody else. But this year we truly have the deepest team, the most solid across the board.’The defeat in the Big East tournament and the loss of Jones, Peters and Sardinha set SU back. At the beginning of the fall, there was no knowing what would become of the eight players who showed up for fall tennis. Yet after just a few months of playing together, the team has become a single unit. And despite the losses, Jensen thinks he has a better squad than last season.Jensen said if the 2011 team were to play the 2010 team, the former would win simply because it’s a ‘better collective.’This collective now has one objective: beat Notre Dame. Jensen said this is the goal. Harman should not have to walk off the court mid-match unless it is for a Syracuse victory.Not individual glory. Not wins against lesser teams. Notre Dame.‘They’re the dominant team in our conference,’ Jensen said. ‘They’re a dominant team in the nation. If we can beat Notre Dame, we can beat anybody.’alguggen@syr.edulast_img read more

Thurston County Public Health Talks Teens and Opiods

first_imgFacebook8Tweet0Pin0Submitted by Gabrielle Byrne for Public Health and Social ServicesOpioids have two faces: they can reduce pain and they can trigger the body to release pleasure-related chemicals in the brain (dopamine is one you may have heard about). This can lead from use to misuse, and possibly to an addiction to opioid drugs.Teenagers are getting addicted not just to street drugs, but also to prescription pain killers. Opioids now represent a clear and present danger to kids everywhere. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, teen deaths due to opioid overdose rose by 19% in a single year. This includes deaths due to street drugs like heroin and fentanyl, as well as to prescription medications (like oxycodone). According to the National Institute of Health, some teens may use multiple drugs or combine drug use with alcohol.Okay, you say, but this is a huge national problem. What can we do here? How can we help our own kids, and friends in our community?Be aware. Opioids are commonly prescribed to teens for things like dental surgery (e.g.; wisdom teeth), or sports injuries.  Parents should ask their child’s doctor about alternatives to prescription pain medications, as well as non-drug pain relief methods (massage, physical therapy, acupuncture, etc.). If prescription pain medication is needed, ask for the lowest possible dose, and be sure an adult distributes and stores the medications. Monitor your child for signs of abuse, dependency, or over-medication.Stay connected. Playing an active, listening role for teens, to help them process what’s going on in their lives is important. Approaching touchy topics without judgment, as best you can, and sharing information shows you care.In fact, there have been a number of scholarly articles, and even Ted Talks, about the relationship between addiction and connection. The recent statement that seems to get the most play in the news is that “The opposite of addiction is not sobriety—it’s connection.”Beyond the blanket suggestion to “connect,” there are lots of concrete things that can help:Educate yourself and your teen about common substances and what they do.Talk to your teen and make sure they understand what they might, at some point, be offered, and the risks of that substance. Safe partying options are also an important discussion topic. Listen to their concerns. Offer to help them come up with creative ways to say no. Don’t put it off.Have the “Teen Link” number available on the fridge or other common space. If your teen needs to talk, and doesn’t want to talk to you, these are anonymous and confidential services. The Teen Link number is 866-833-6546 and it’s available in the evening from 6:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m. The 24-hour Crisis line is also an option: 866-427-4747.Give medication as directed. If your teen’s prescription is not controlling their pain, talk to their doctor.Don’t leave opioids out where they can be seen. Store them in a locked drawer, cabinet, or tool/tackle/lock box. Hide the key in a different location.Always dispose of medications properly. Use free Medicine Take Back service locations to drop off meds you no longer need. Locations are listed at takebackyourmeds.orgAddiction, when it happens, can be scary and overwhelming. There are associated health risks—sexually transmitted diseases, blood borne infections spread through sharing needles, and worries about overdose. Talking to your teen may also become more difficult. It can be hard to know where to start. Support services for families who have a loved one struggling with opioid addiction are available. If you, or someone in your household has an opioid addiction, it is legal for you to have Naloxone, a product that may help reverse an opioid-related overdose, on hand. This drug will not help with other non-opioid drugs like methamphetamine. There are many places where Naloxone is available. In addition, there are local crisis and treatment resources.There are no easy answers when it comes to preventing addiction, nor is there an easy way forward when it happens, but there is a broad community of support—ready, willing, and able to step up and do the work at your side.last_img read more