Sophomore Jeannie Lozowski owns eight wins for the Huskers in their first two fall invitationals this season.
Photo by Scott Bruhn/Nebraska Communications

Lozowski Making Major Adjustment to College Tennis, College Life

By Rachel Long

Most college students expect the freshman year workload to be heavier than high school, but that transition took a whole new dimension for Jeannie Lozowski. As a five-star recruit who took online classes from seventh grade through graduation, preparing for the college experience was nearly impossible.

“I was never in a classroom-like experience, so I kind of just came to college and was thrown into it,” Lozowski said. “It was really hard, actually. I knew it would be hard, but I didn’t really understand how hard it was, because I hadn’t been in a classroom since middle school. So it’s kind of weird having a teacher and having due dates, and then I’m also more busy than I ever was. I wasn’t really that busy. High school was really easy for me, I never got a B. And then you just kind of come here and you have to learn things, and it was really hard. It was difficult to adjust.”

Lozowski, who was able to dedicate her high school years to tennis because of her online classes, focused on adjusting to the college workload throughout her freshman year and is putting school at the forefront of her focus in college. Through hard work and tenacity, the sophomore earned a spot on Nebraska’s Scholar-Athlete Honor Roll her first two semesters.

“I got a lot more used to it, especially in season, because we were busy every single weekend,” Lozowski said. “I had to figure out how to manage my time, and I only took 12 credits because I knew it would be really hard and I had hard classes, but I found a way to make it work and I ended up doing really well in my classes.”

The Port Saint Lucie, Fla., native said chemistry with the team, and most importantly, with the coaches, is what brought her to the Midwest to play tennis.

“I reached out to them first, and I talked to [Head Coach Scott Jacobson] on the phone, and I was like, ‘Wow, he’s really nice,’” Lozowski said. “I would feel really nervous talking to college coaches on the phone, because obviously I wanted to impress them, I wanted them to like me. I didn’t really feel like that as much with him. I felt like I could just be myself and relax a little bit.”

Her first call to Jacobson was in May of 2015 before her senior year. The next time she reached out, she realized exactly what set Nebraska apart from the rest.

“I was at a tournament in Florida and it was a really big tournament and I was playing pretty well, and I won my first two rounds of the tournament,” Lozowski said. “So I texted the coach at Nebraska to let him know, and he was like, ‘OK, cool, I’ll see you tomorrow.’ And I was like, ‘What?’ And he came and he watched me play the next day. I ended up winning the whole tournament, which kind of felt like fate in a way. I committed the next day, after I won the tournament. It was pretty early. I had other official visits scheduled and I canceled them. Nebraska was my No. 1 choice and when he came out to watch me play, that was a really big deal to me, because I don’t know, I saw a coach coming out of his way to watch me, and not all of them do that.”

After making it to back-to-back finals at invitationals this fall, Jacobson said he’s proud of Lozowski’s phenomenal progress in the offseason and her dedication to self-improvement.

“She is the type of person that comes to practice every day ready to work and be the best she can be,” Jacobson said. “She came back from the summer in the best physical condition she has ever been in at Nebraska. Her greatest improvement has been with her movement off the baseline. Jeannie’s greatest strength is her ability to overpower her opponents off the ground and she also possesses a very strong first serve. Jeannie is a teamer first and cares deeply for other members of the program. She has been a tremendous asset to our Husker family both on and off the court.”

After finalizing her first season at Nebraska, her team and the NU student-athlete resources have ensured her decision was the right one.

“It’s just that we have so many opportunities here to do well,” Lozowski said. “Aside from having good coaches and a good team, we have so many resources, even academically with tutors. We have all the help just handed to us, I couldn’t ask for anything more. I feel like I’m really set up to succeed here. And I just like being a student-athlete here, I feel like it’s really special, because even when we do events where there are kids, they really look up to us and it just makes you feel like you’re a part of something bigger than yourself.”

Despite bringing in 24 total wins for the Huskers last season, the two-time USTA Level 5 Singles Champion has higher expectations for the upcoming season. After spending the whole summer committed to strength training, resistance training, explosiveness and improving her overall fitness, Lozowski has a newfound surge of confidence for the season.

“It was really hard to adjust to playing every single weekend and kind of balancing everything,” Lozowski said. “I kind of struggled a little bit with confidence, but I trained really hard this summer and I did a lot better and I had a really good [first] tournament, so I feel a lot better from the season. I feel so much more prepared than last year.”

Lozowski’s goals for the next four years at Nebraska include bettering her tennis game, staying fit and getting good grades. Lozowski studies biochemistry, a field that fascinates her.

“I’m really interested in the human body and why things happen, and I’ve always been into fitness too,” Lozowski said. “I’m interested in helping people. I’m interested in nutrition. I’m interested in how the body works. Anything related to that or relating it with athletes, I would love to do something along those lines.”

After Nebraska, Lozowski dreams of attending graduate school or medical school, but for now she’s focused on making it to the top of the tennis lineup.

Outside of tennis, the player who was ranked No. 58 nationally in 2016 has a variety of favorite pastimes, including playing piano, cooking and reading autobiographies.

One autobiography Lozowski praises is Andre Agassi’s. Agassi is a retired American tennis player who was ranked No. 1 in the world. His autobiography is titled, “Open.”

“He wrote about how much he hated tennis, which is kind of surprising,” Lozowski said. “His dad pressured him so much. His dad was like a boxer from Israel and just pressured him and would scream at him. He did everything to kind of rebel against it, like he went to a tennis academy and had a mohawk, wore jeans to tournaments, wouldn’t go to school and hated the people there. And he ended up being really good, No.1 in the world, won nine grand slams. He hated tennis, but it brought him everything he has now. He opened up a school for poor children in Las Vegas. Tennis gave him all this money, opportunities, helped him meet his wife who is also a professional tennis player. So I look up to him, for just going through that and sticking with it.”

Lozowski, who has been on the courts since age 7 and said she didn’t think she was actually any good until age 15, said she admires Agassi’s stamina and resolve.

“It kind of makes you realize how thankful you have to be for [tennis], because sometimes it gets annoying when it gets in the way of other things,” Lozowski said. “Like, I missed out on going to school and having a legitimate social life. But I kind of sacrificed those things to be where I am today.”

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