Southsider Voice correspondent
A sibling rivalry has turned two tennis players at Greenwood High School into the most dominant players in the area. Jade and Jackie Kawamoto have not lost a match this season, an achievement they have accomplished before.
“I’ve only lost one match,” Jackie said about her career at Greenwood.
Greenwood is headed back to the state finals after defeating Terre Haute North 3-2 Saturday at the Center Grove Regional. The Kawamoto sisters won their matches to give their team two big points. The Woodmen won the third and deciding point by taking two of the three doubles matches.
Jackie played No. 1 singles at Greenwood for the past two seasons and won the state championship in 2013 as a junior. Jade had a perfect season at No. 2 singles and has never lost a match at Greenwood. This created a situation of Jackie stepping down to No. 2 singles to allow Jade a shot at the title her senior year. It was a move that Jackie was not comfortable making at first.
“It was a pretty tough decision because I wanted to defend my title,” Jackie said. “But she had to play No. 2 the past two years so I decided to give her a shot.”
With the sisters anchoring the singles slots, Greenwood had little trouble defending its sectional and regional championships. Both sisters defeated their Shelbyville opponents 6-0, 6-0 in regional action May 28.
They are seen as automatic wins as the Greenwood athletic department’s Twitter account tweeted, “Jade and Jackie have won at 1 & 2 singles, who will get the third point?”
The sisters credit their success in part to having a practice partner who cannot be duplicated anywhere else – a twin sister who is as competitive and as talented as the other.
“It’s been nice having someone my age and my competitive level playing with,” Jade said. “Because I always have that good partner to hit with, and it keeps me focused.”
Greenwood made it to the state finals last season but lost in the quarterfinals, a mark the sisters believe that can be improved on. Jade is confident that she can keep her undefeated streak alive, even on the biggest stage of high school tennis. Greenwood will face Park Tudor at 3 p.m. Friday in the first round at Center Grove.
“I’ve become a more rounded player,” Jade said. “I try to stay focus and not get frustrated and keep my cool.”
Jade and Jackie are the youngest siblings in a family with a strong tennis tradition. Their older sister, Lisa, played at the University of Evansville, and their older brother, Dane, played at Franklin College. Unlike their siblings, Jade and Jackie will be leaving Indiana to attend the University of Dayton.
“Jade committed there before I did.” Jackie said. “I was still deciding between a couple of schools, but ultimately I decided to join her. Eastern Illinois was on my mind. We kind of jumped on Dayton kind of early.”
Despite their long list of accolades, they were not recruited by Big Ten schools like Indiana and Purdue, which typically recruit players overseas, but Jade and Jackie have that covered. The Kawamoto family moved from Lahaina, Hawaii, to the Southside in 2004, when Jade and Jackie were third-graders.
“In Hawaii we could play year round,” Jackie said. “Here it’s whenever the weather is nice.”
Once they get to Dayton, Jade and Jackie will be able to play doubles and singles. As mirror twins, the Kawamoto sisters have a couple of advantages in doubles.
“It’s kind of nice that she’s a lefty and I’m a righty, so we can both use our forehand side.” Jackie said. “It’s really easy to communicate with your sister because you can yell at her anytime.”