Press "Enter" to skip to content

Coach Tyler hits big milestone with Bradley tennis win

Maria Bezmenova prepares for the return. Photo courtesy of Bradley Athletics

Even though Bradley tennis went 2-1 over the last week, with a loss against Ball State and two wins against Lindenwood and Southern Indiana, the program’s second win of the week was special. 

However, before Bradley could celebrate, they had to get past the Cardinals. The team traveled to Muncie, Indiana, to play Ball State for the first time since 2015. Coming into the match with a 2-7 record, Ball State barely beat Bradley 4-3. 

In the singles portion of the day, junior Kirstin Hailey and freshman Andra Sirbu took home the points for the Braves. Sirbu and Hailey, along with sophomores Anna Belogliadova and Alexandra Hildreth, won the doubles point. 

“That was a great match for us,” head coach Matt Tyler said. “Ball State is a really good team, and I felt like we played very well. I’m really happy with where we are right now, especially going into conference play.” 

The Braves then traveled to St. Charles, Missouri to play Lindenwood. The Lions desperately needed a win after a 4-8 record and two back-to-back losses against Missouri. 

Bradley didn’t give it to them as they claimed a 6-1 victory that was not only their first road win of the season, but also marked Tyler’s 100th career win with the program. 

Bradley started by winning five of their six singles matches, and while sophomore Madi Rogers took the only loss, it came down to the wire, going into a tiebreaker with a final score of 5-6, 6-2, 10-7. They also swept the doubles point, not giving up a single set to Lindenwood. 

“It was a good win for us,” Tyler said. “Lindenwood, obviously, being a new Division I team, they’re adjusting a little bit. But we had to play well, and we definitely had to stay focused and get the job done, and we did a really good job of refocusing and getting it done in the singles, too.” 

Tyler also explained how it felt to reach a milestone, especially with this season’s team. 

“I think this is a special group. I don’t know if I’ve ever had a team that’s been as tight knit as this group,” Tyler said. “They get along well and work hard day in and day out. So, it’s really a special team of young ladies and it’s full credit to them for sure. This is my eleventh year coaching, so it’s nice to cross that threshold.”

Next, the Braves came home to take on Southern Indiana. Tyler’s historic win wasn’t enough for them this week, as they won 5-2 against the Screaming Eagles to start a two-match win streak. 

Winning four of the six singles matches they played, the doubles play came in clutch as Bradley won two sets and the other was abandoned. This was the third consecutive doubles point they took in three matches. 

“That was another good win for us,” Tyler said. “[Our] third doubles point in a row now. It’s the same story. That match we felt comfortable, but then all of a sudden, they kind of woke up in the second sets. Credit to the team for staying focused and getting it done.” 

The Braves look to extend their winning streak as conference play starts this Sunday. They will travel to Nashville to play Belmont. Bradley played the Bruins twice last year, once in regular season play and once in the MVC tournament, losing both 4-1. 

“Belmont’s a good team, no doubt about it,” Tyler said. “We’ll have to play well to beat them. But again, I think we have a lot of confidence right now, and we’re playing really well. And we’re in a great position to hopefully surprise a few of these Valley opponents. We got voted seventh in the Valley, so hopefully they look past us a little bit and we’re able to capitalize on that and see what we can do.” 

With little over a month to go in regular season play, Bradley tennis looks to get some big wins against tough opponents to improve their record.

Copyright © 2023, The Scout, Bradley University. All rights reserved.
The Scout is published by members of the student body of Bradley University. Opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the University.