Odd Couple Succeeds for NRHS Tennis

Published in the May 23, 2007 issue of Stow Independent

By Jordana Bieze Foster


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Both are Nashoba Regional High School seniors, both are from Stow, and each holds a tennis racket with her right hand. That's about where the similarities end.

It's hard to know whether Rebecca Straney and Andrea Nixon have made a successful doubles team because of their differences or in spite of them. But two peas in a pod, they're not.

Straney is a chatterbox and self-described “space shot” who has been known to take the court for a match without her racket.

“How many times in a match do I have to ask you what the score is?” Straney asked her partner during a pre-match interview last week. The question was almost rhetorical.

“A lot,” Nixon replied.

Nixon, who was also a captain of the Nashoba girls' basketball team during the winter, chooses her words carefully and always has her head in the game—sometimes too much so.

“She keeps me in line,” Straney said. “But I keep Andi in line when she gets too mad.”

Both had ample occasions to be frustrated in the past week. Although the pair entered the week with an impressive 8-2 record and a successful showing in the first weekend of the individual district championships in Shrewsbury, they went on to endure losses to the three strongest teams on their schedule (Westboro, Notre Dame Academy and Wachusett) and saw their third-round individual district tournament match postponed twice because of rain.

The good news, though, is that the rainouts will have left them well rested for the coming week's rematches with Mid-Wach B rival Westboro and perennial tennis powerhouse Notre Dame Academy. And when they face the Westboro doubles team of Courtney Tanner and Cameron Crowder in the district tournament on Saturday, there shouldn't be any surprises—it will be the third time the two doubles teams will have met in the span of two weeks. The same would be true should they advance to face top-seeded defending champions Alexa Trapasso and Abigail Egan of Notre Dame. (A third Nashoba player, Fallon Chow of Stow, also advanced to the third round of the tournament in singles play.)

Straney and Nixon hope to improve on their showing in the 2006 individual district tournament, which they entered as the second seed but lost in the semi-finals. This year, they were seeded fifth.

The pair attribute their success at least in part to knowing each other well -- having grown up together in Stow, attended Nashoba girls' tennis coach Dan Spedding's tennis camps together, and played doubles together since their freshman year.

“We each know what the other's going to do,” Straney said.

The other part of their success has been simply keeping the ball in play.

“When we play well, it's usually because we get our volleys in,” Nixon said.

Both hope to play tennis in college, although—not surprisingly—their plans differ. Straney will be attending the College of Charleston in South Carolina in the fall; Nixon remains undecided.

“Come to Charleston with me,” suggested Straney. “It'd be fun.”

Nixon considered this.

“It would be,” she acknowledged. “But I couldn't go that far away from home.”

Both agree that their doubles career at Nashoba will be a hard act to follow. And although they may well end up as singles players in college, they'll miss the camaraderie of each being the other's better half.

“Doubles is fun,” Straney said. “You always have someone to hang out with.

Copyright 2008 Jordana Foster – 24 Kirkland Dr, Stow, MA – Email: – Fax: (815) 346-5239