Tennis team captain has UCSB in his future

Nathan+Eshmade+has+gone+undefeated+throughoutt+the+2014+season%2C+going+22-0.+He+signed+his+letter+of+intent+for+UCSB.+Photo+credit%3A+Denny+Cristales

Nathan Eshmade has gone undefeated throughoutt the 2014 season, going 22-0. He signed his letter of intent for UCSB. Photo credit: Denny Cristales

Hailing from Australia, migrating to the United States, reaching Cerritos College and now, Santa Barbara. Tennis team Captain Nathan Eshmade is definitely going places.

He signed his letter of intent for UC Santa Barbara, officially allowing him to transfer to the Division I school for the upcoming fall semester.

“It feels really good to know that I signed the letter finally and to know that I’m definitely going to UC Santa Barbara now,” he said. “It’s all official. The signing was very professional. So it was a really good feeling.”

The sophomore is undefeated in singles play for the season, going 22-0 in this season, and 47-2 overall in his two-year tenure.

Eshmade said, “Going undefeated is a really good feeling, but I’m not the underdog anymore. It’s hard. You’ve got to stay on top of your game or else someone will get under your skin. Definitely being undefeated is a huge confidence boost.”

He added, “I know when I transfer to UC Santa Barbara it’s not going to be the same story. I’m going to have to work twice as hard than I already am now. But I’m already looking forward to that.”

When Eshmade decided on Cerritos College, he knew what to expect. It wasn’t the familiar game of tennis, but rather, it was knowing that he was going to have to be independent if he would commit to this.

“I (have) no family at all. They’re all back home in Australia. So I came out here all by myself knowing that it was just going to be me, so I would have to do everything for myself; that included groceries, washing; everything that my mom and dad help me out with at home … I miss my family everyday but I always talk to my parents, and my friends at home always message me. I miss it, but I don’t feel too homesick because my tennis team is like a family to me.”

Jose Pacquing knows Eshmade leaving for Santa Barbara will leave a void but the freshman knows it’s a necessary step.

“At the end of the day, being here was to get to somewhere else,” he said. “He is great here but he’s not reaching his full potential. I think D-I is perfect for him. He’s had a perfect conference record; he’s never lost. Why stay? He’s obviously proven himself here. So I think UC Santa Barbara is great.”

Eshmade recalls the contrast between the Australian style of play between the American style. It was a craft he had to master. But support from the coaching staff helped him reach a level of consistency.

“These last two years have been more consistent. I’m waiting for the right ball, I’m not trying to destroy the ball after the first or second ball; I wait five or six balls, then I’ll go for the kill. That was the biggest change, getting my consistency level up and adapting to that, because everyone here likes to get the ball back in play. They don’t like to finish points off, where that’s me. But now I can do both which is probably my biggest change adapting from Australia to America.”

Even though the attacking style has had to simmer down with that adjustment.

“He’s a fighter. He’ll fight for his win,” Paquing said. “You can tell during every game, even if he’s mentally frustrated, he’ll come back from that. And that’s why he’s our captain because he encourages that throughout the team when he’s not playing.”

Eshmade will miss that camaraderie.

“Yeah, it’s a very sad feeling. Obviously being a captain as a sophomore and having such a good reputation, especially the (men’s) game in the semi-finals with the a huge freshmen team; I don’t think any other team has this many freshmen involved and reach the semi-finals, it’s a huge thing to do. It makes me sad, but I made them all better people, better players. I can see it. They keep telling me that they’re going to miss me a lot. It’s hard to take in but they understand it’s the next stepping stone in my life and I’ve got to keep going. So I’m definitely going to miss them a lot.”

The two-year career at Cerritos College had Eshmade not only undergo tennis, but also the pursuit of his AA degree. The most difficult thing, according to him, has been not getting sidetracked and staying focused while juggling academics and athletics.

And now it got him a spot at Santa Barbara.

“All that support from everyone has been absolutely incredible. Without them, I wouldn’t have made it this far.”