The BYU women’s tennis team has new weapons in its armory, including freshmen Emilee Astle and Emma Jewell.
While both players have similar backgrounds as Utah locals and incoming BYU students, the two came to the team with completely different strengths.
BYU women’s tennis assistant coach Dillon Porter said it is essential for each tennis player to have a secret weapon of their own to be a successful player on the court.
While some would infer that a weapon lies in strength and power, Porter said tennis players can also bring consistency to the court; a strength that brought head coach Holly Parkinson Hasler success in her former tennis career.
Astle is a six-foot-tall powerhouse who provides a big serve and great technique.
“Emilee has weapons that can hurt people,” Porter said. “There’s a difference between winning a match just from having them lose and winning a match because you just beat somebody, and Emilee has that potential to just beat people.”
While Astle’s moves may pack a punch, 5-foot-5 Jewell is similar to Hasler, as she is best known for maintaining stamina and consistency throughout the entire match. Although a different strength, consistency can also be an effective tactic.
While Jewell may not be seen as a player that attacks opponents with volleys at the net, Porter said she will, instead, try to get her opponent to lose: a game style which can prove to be just as difficult.
While the difference in style is determined by the athlete’s preference, it is often derived from the player’s physique, Porter said.
Coming out of Alta High School, Emilee Astle held a perfect 102-0 record and was the No. 1 recruit in Utah and the No. 103 recruit in the nation.
Although receiving various offers, the Sandy, Utah, native said she has been dreaming of becoming a Cougar since she was a little girl. With both parents being BYU alumni, Astle said the choice was obvious.
Astle agrees that her greatest strengths are her impressive serves and powerful volleys. While she loves the game as a whole, Astle said she especially enjoys being aggressive and finishing points at the net.
Only a recent member of the BYU women’s tennis team, Astle said she is fully committed to her newfound teammates and will do her best to excel in practice and competition.
Astle said she is excited for the opportunity to represent a school that she has always loved and cannot wait for her following years on the Cougar court. While she is recognized as part of the athletic department, she said she is grateful for the chance to be part of the academic portion of the university as well.
“I love my coaches and my teammates and I am excited to see what this year will bring,” Astle said.
Emma Jewell, daughter of BYU tennis alumna Angela Nelson, is from Salt Lake City and said she enjoys following the legacy of her mother as a BYU tennis player.
As a former student of Olympus High School, Jewell helped her 5A team win four consecutive state championships from 2015-18. In August 2016 and January 2017, she was the Intermountain Sectional Champion and was a finalist during her senior year in 2018.
Coming to BYU, Jewell said she knew her stamina and persistence were exactly what the BYU team needed.
“Everyone in junior tennis knew me for having the longest matches because I would be willing to stay out on the court for four hours if I had to,” Jewell said. “I would take every ball back (and) run everything down. That’s my strength. I’m willing to be out there longer than anyone.”
While Jewell said she may not be the tallest or strongest on the team, her game style provides a different perspective and will allow the team to have an advantageous balance of strengths.
Of her four-year commitment to the BYU team, Jewell said she is most excited about being part of a team. While high school provided little opportunities for team interaction, Jewell said she loves the opportunity to be involved in the team aspect and is ready to work hard in the coming season.