Senior Newcomer Lashway Eager for Season as Husker
“Transferring,” senior Husker Brianna Lashway said when she was asked about her biggest accomplishment so far in life.
“Because that was the most scary… I was so scared when I was in the middle of that process of even thinking that I was going to,” Lashway said. “It’s a daunting decision, because I was not expecting to and I was scared that I wasn’t going to find a school that was right for me and I might have gotten into the same situation that I was in before. So I was really proud of myself when I actually made the decision to leave, and I think that was a huge accomplishment for me.”
After three seasons of Division I tennis at the University of Missouri, where she amassed 86 combined career wins and was competing out of the No.1 spot in singles and doubles, the Bradenton, Fla., native is playing her final season for Nebraska.
“I was kind of nervous, because you know, you’re new and it’s my last year too, but [my teammates] are great,” Lashway said. “I just feel so welcome here and I feel like I’ve already made best friends on the team.”
Growing up in a tennis-playing trio of her older sister, Brittany, and her younger sister, Brooke, family has always been a part of tennis for Lashway, and tennis has been part of family. The three were homeschooled through high school to allow two-a-days of tennis training and conditioning, and both admiration and competition soon worked their way into the sisterhood.
“When you have sisters, especially when you play the same sport, you kind of look up to them and are jealous of them, it’s both,” Lashway said. “They both influenced me because just when I watched them play growing up, I’ve learned from them so much because we’d go to the same tournaments, I’d watch their matches, we’d practice together and you just learn a lot when you see somebody’s different style of game, too. Also their work ethic and how hard they work, you learn from that at a young age especially when you see your older sister do that, and I think that influenced me a lot, and the way they compete, both of them. I think they’re the two biggest people that influenced me in tennis.”
The adamant athlete, who was playing some of her best tennis before injuring her tibia last spring, has already brought in six wins for her new Husker family in fall invitational play. Lashway is spending the rest of the offseason engaged in rehab and preparing to hit the courts again this spring, something she can’t wait to do with her new team.
“I just needed somewhere where it was more positive and someone who listened to me about my body,” Lashway said. “[Last spring,] Coach Jacobson called me up almost five minutes after I sent an email to him, and was like, ‘Hey, so you’re transferring?’ And basically he was just like, ‘we’re super interested,’ and all that stuff, and I knew some stuff about him and the program but not a ton. We ended up talking for a few weeks, and then I was just like, this seems like a place that I would fit in well.
“The family atmosphere, the way he talked about how the team interacts together and the way he takes care of his players, basically as his own. I think that was the biggest reason for me... he just seemed like he cared about my well-being, as a person, not just a tennis player.”
Less than three weeks after her first connection with Head Coach Scott Jacobson, Lashway committed to playing her senior season at Nebraska. Jacobson said that Lashway has become a core component of the Big Red family and that he has great expectations for how she’ll perform on the court this spring.
“She’s an amazing athlete, hits a really big ball, has a tremendous serve and is a phenomenal competitor,” Jacobson said. “In addition, she has tremendous doubles skills with a very strong return of serve and aggressive style of play. We hope that her senior year will be her best year of collegiate tennis and her most enjoyable. We’re incredibly grateful to have Brianna as one of the most recent members of our Husker family.”
The English and communication studies major, who has managed her own book blog, Brianna’s Book Buzz, for seven years and counting, hopes to complete in the professional tennis circuit after graduating this May. Afterward, Lashway said her dream job would be working as an editor for a widespread publishing company.
In the meantime, the fierce competitor is driven to help the team make it to the NCAA Tournament this year, a huge goal for the Huskers and for Lashway since she was a freshman. But overall, the senior is simply eager to soak in her final season of college tennis alongside a team she truly enjoys.
“I keep thinking of my teammates,” Lashway said regarding her favorite part about Nebraska. “That’s literally the best thing about being here. I think the people is what makes the place. Their first thing is for the team, they’re genuinely good people, and they care about each other.”