The Hurricane women’s tennis team has received a generous gift. The decision made by Megan Bradley to transfer from UCLA to Miami has earned immediate national attention for the team and puts them near the top of a short list of contenders for the NCAA tournament title.
After a successful freshman campaign at UCLA, boasting a singles record of 30-9 and a national ranking of five, Bradley decided that she wanted to head to a more familiar environment where she played in high school.
“I have experience playing around here, which influenced my decision,” Bradley said. “I have nothing negative to say about UCLA, I just wanted to play in familiar surroundings.”
Another key factor in Bradley’s decision was her relationship with Coach Paige Yaroshuk, whom Bradley has known for a long time. Yaroshuk could have a tremendous influence in improving her game.
“I have known coach [Yaroshuk] for a long time now,” Bradley said. “I felt she could help me develop to the highest level possible and build on my strengths while eliminating weaknesses.”
There aren’t many noticeable weaknesses in Bradley’s game. She owns one of the best serves in the country and a viscous forehand, two of the factors involved in her preseason ranking of No. 2 in the country (according to the Intercollegiate Tennis Association).
“I like to use my size and strength to overpower opponents,” Bradley said. “I consider myself a very aggressive player, not shying away from a point.”
Bradley has been racking up victories on the court for a long time. She has had previous success on the junior circuit and was involved in the qualifying for this year’s U.S. Open, in singles, doubles, and mixed doubles. Last year, while at UCLA, Bradley advanced to the finals of the nationals in doubles.
One question that Bradley has been asked regularly is how the level of play of the Big East compares to that of the Pac-10. She feels that while the Pac-10 is one of the top conferences in the country, the Big East is not too far behind.
“In the Pac-10 you have three of the top ten teams in the country [Stanford,
California-Berkley, and UCLA],” Bradley said. “The Big East may not have those bragging rights, but it is still a very competitive conference and a good arena for me to improve in.”
As far as which matches are the most important on the schedule, Bradley was unable to pinpoint just one.
“I know that the Illinois match is important because it is the opening match and that Notre Dame is always a battle,” Bradley said. “We’re just going to try to improve every time out there and treat every match as the biggest of the season.”
Bradley will team in doubles with a freshman, Melissa Applebaum, who also has had some success in the junior circuit. The two hope to be one of the top tandems in the conference
“I have never played with Melissa before and I am looking forward to teaming with her,” Bradley said. “I know she has a good history in juniors and we should be pretty successful together.”
With Bradley on the roster, the Hurricane tennis team now has a chance to do some serious damage on the national level. Given Bradley’s track record and preseason ranking, there is no reason to believe that these high expectations and goals are unreachable.
You can reach Eric Kalis at email@example.com.