Brianna Lashway brings intensity to Mizzou tennis

Junior Clare Raley: “There’s never a time when you’re questioning how hard she’s working.”
Brianna Lashway competes at a Missouri tennis meet. Courtesy of Mizzou Athletics

When it comes down to her success on the tennis court, junior Brianna Lashway tries to focus on only one or two components when entering a match.

“I’m mean in my head when I’m out there on the court,” Lashway said. “I focus on being really aggressive and like I’m going to take it from the girl. That kind of attitude.”

Lashway’s grit and intense mentality are not the only factors teammates find motivating. Senior Cassidy Spearman, Lashway's doubles partner, commented on Lashway’s high-fives as a strong and important motivator while in competition.

“I love her high-fives,” she said. “Her high-fives are really intense and intentional and it gets me pumped.”

With her evolving maturity and experience, Lashway is on track to lift Missouri tennis to a solid season come spring.

Lashway and the rest of the Missouri tennis team will conclude their fall season at the Big Green Invitational in Hanover, New Hampshire, starting Friday, Nov. 4.

Starting off the season with a 6-1 record in singles play, Lashway has already established a significant role on the team.

Lashway’s first two seasons with Missouri were a little rockier than expected, but her experience has proven to be essential to her current performance.

The Bradenton, Florida, native began her collegiate career with a 29-33 overall record her freshman year. Lashway did show promise, though, posting a noteworthy 18-6 record within the fall portion of that season.

In her sophomore season, Lashway racked up more experience in both singles and doubles, compiling an overall record of 38-40. Lashway and former doubles partner, Bea Machado Santos, also took home the No. 1 doubles title at the 2015 Mizzou Invite, and the duo went on to be ranked No. 73 in the Oracle/ITA Collegiate Tennis Doubles Rankings.

Although Lashway has two solid seasons in the books, she says she hopes to improve this year.

“My past two seasons weren’t what I expected or hoped, so I’m really looking forward to this one,” Lashway said.

At the Mizzou Invite, Lashway lead the team with a perfect record in singles play and a 2-3 mark in doubles action. She also went undefeated when a singles match was decided by a tiebreaker.

Lashway continued on her early success at the ITA Central Regionals where she advanced to the round of 16 in singles play, collecting three more wins and her first singles loss of the season. Lashway’s singles record now stands at an impressive 6-1 total for the fall.

On the court, Lashway has a tendency to be aggressive with her shots, especially with her serve.

“[Brianna] has a big serve and she needs to trust in it more because it’s huge,” Spearman said. “It sets me up really good at the net, so it’s really fun for me because I really like to hit volleys.”

On and off the courts, Lashway is known to be very caring and close with her teammates, which the Tigers suggest makes their team stronger. With her experience and determined attitude, Lashway serves as a strong team leader alongside Santos and Spearman.

“[Brianna] is a doer rather than a talker,” junior Clare Raley said. “You can count on her coming to practice and consistently busting it every single day. There’s never a time when you’re questioning how hard she’s working, and that makes her really respectable.”

After Colt Gaston started his head coaching career at Missouri, Lashway has been seeing improvement in her performance. The Tigers plan on making the NCAA’s top 30 this year, but Lashway also has goals she is personally striving for.

“I want to get ranked in both singles and doubles,” Lashway said. “I think that’s where I’m going to start right now for the season.”

Edited by Anna Sirianni |

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