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Hart's Jackie Resler: A grinder till the end

Posted: October 29, 2013 10:30 p.m.
Updated: October 29, 2013 10:30 p.m.

Hart senior Jackie Resler is known for her ability to wear opponents down.

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Strategically, there’s nothing intrepid about stacking doubles against the Hart girls tennis team. It’s the equivalent of blowing into the bottom of a broken Nintendo video game — it’s probably not going to work, but what other option is there?

Simply put, opposing Foothill League tennis coaches have entered every match against the Indians the past two seasons with the understanding that Hart’s singles lineup will either sweep or win 90 percent of its sets and there is nothing anybody can do about it.

Hart’s trio of Natalia Munoz, Proyfon Lohaphaisan, and Jackie Resler is one of the more impressive assemblages of talent the program has ever seen, compiling an 86-1 record during the Foothill League season and carrying the Indians to a 17-0 regular season record in 2013.

All three players have made it look easy, each dominating in their own respective fashion.

But to be fair, Munoz and Lohaphaisan have been the beneficiaries of a tremendous competitive advantage: many of their opponents are exhausted before their sets even begin.

Meet senior Jackie Resler, Hart’s relentless grinder.

“She’s very tenacious, she never gives up on a point,” says Indians head coach Chris Mansfield. “After Jackie plays someone, usually it sets up Natalia and Proyfon for an easier match with that player.”

Resler has come a long way with the Hart tennis program in four years.

She began her career as a role player on a middle-of-the-road team led by former Hart standout Anne Susdorf, who now plays collegiate tennis at Fresno State.

Since that season, Resler has assumed a more prominent leadership role, beginning her sophomore year, when she welcomed Lohaphaisan to the team and the two developed themselves into valuable assets in singles.

“We had Anne my freshman year, I always looked up to her — how good she was, how nobody could beat her.” says Resler, who finished 29-1 in league play this season after avenging her only loss to Canyon’s Katrina DeGuzman during the final match of the year. “Because Proyfon was a freshman and I had some experience, I wanted to guide her with leadership the way Anne did that for me.”

In 2012, Resler once again acted as the experienced anchor of a talented Hart singles lineup, leading the way for yet another up-and-coming Indians standout, then-freshman Natalia Munoz.

Because the three were so successful in 2012, the Hart program entered this season with incredibly high expectations.

Now 17-0, it’s safe to say that the team’s potential is being realized.

And while Munoz and Lohaphaisan intimidate their opponents with powerful and consistent ground strokes, it’s Resler’s grinding style that yields the greatest returns.

An all-court player that’s all about staying in motion (Resler intends on studying sports and exercise science in college), the Hart senior either runs opponents around the court with strategic pace-changing drop shots and lobs, or she frustrates them with her ability to get the extra ball back.

“I actually remember one person saying to me that I’m pretty annoying to play against because of my approach and intensity,” says Resler.

The result has not only been tremendous individual success for Resler, but frustration and fatigue on the other side of the net.

Because of the structure of high school tennis matches, players are often required to play sets quickly back-to-back, meaning a fatigued and frustrated player often won’t have time to regroup and make adjustments.

Enter Munoz and Lohaphaisan.

That’s a big part of how 86-1 happens.

Resler has not only made an obvious contribution to Hart’s tennis culture, but to her ethnic traditions as well.

Her father Caesar emigrated from Argentina to New York when he was 16 years old, and her mother Juana is from Mexico.

Beyond that, both of Resler’s parents have athletic backgrounds, each participating in track and field or long distance running at some point in their lives.

Resler doesn’t speak Spanish herself, but according to her dad, her playing style honors her Argentinean descent all the same.

“Growing up in Argentina we all loved Guillermo Vilas, everybody wanted to be like him,” Caesar says of the retired Argentinian professional tennis player. “He was a guy who didn’t have as much power and all that, so he was resourceful and used his smarts and quickness. Jackie plays a lot like that.”

Vilas won four grand slam titles during his career. Resler would settle for a first place finish at the upcoming Foothill League tournament, which begins today and runs through Thursday at the Paseo Club.

Then again, when it comes to tennis, Resler doesn’t settle for anything.

“If nobody can play with Jackie she’ll go out and practice serves herself,” Caesar adds. “Even right now, it’s 50 degrees outside and she’s out there playing because somebody happened to call her last minute.”

After high school, the senior hopes to play college tennis, but first Resler and the Indians will look to continue 2013’s unprecedented success in the playoffs.

With all Hart has done this year, one has to like its chances.

An individual or team victory in CIF will only further cement her status as one of Hart’s all-time great players.

Yet, even if Resler ends this season with neither accomplishment, it won’t be for lack of trying.

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