NCAA Womens Tennis

From Rivals to Doubles Partners: Shvets & Bryzgalova Dominating the Court and the Classroom, Together

Brianna Shvets, Iuliia Bryzgalova

DURHAM — For Brianna Shvets and Iuliia Bryzgalova, playing collegiate tennis means a chance to excel both academically and athletically. Although now competing for Duke, both athletes have had a long journey before becoming Blue Devils.

Shvets started her college career playing for Princeton. She came in as the No. 3 ranked recruit in the nation, quickly making a name for herself within the Ivy League. Shvets defeated many impressive, ranked opponents, including No. 1 Ashley Lahey of Pepperdine right before COVID struck, and served as a team captain for the Tigers throughout her career.

At the University of Pennsylvania, Bryzgalova was compiling an impressive resume of her own. In her rookie season, she won Ivy League Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year along with qualifying for the NCAA Singles Championship. Bryzgalova went on to also become an Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) All-American in singles and defeat many ranked opponents during her time at Penn.

During their time at their respective Ivy League institutions, Bryzgalova and Shvets were rivals, playing each other multiple times. The intense rivalry between Princeton and Penn put them on opposite sides of the court. But once COVID hit, they found themselves in the same boat.

With the Ivy League canceling competition during the 2020-21 season due to the COVID pandemic, both Shvets and Bryzgalova gained extra years of eligibility, that along with the transfer portal left them with a brand-new opportunity: studying at the Duke Fuqua School of Business, while playing for the Blue Devils.

“I’m very thankful for being able to use my eligibility,” said Shvets. “Otherwise, I could’ve gone a very different path. I thought I would’ve worked a few years and maybe went back to get my MBA, this was never how I envisioned it.”

“When I realized I had two years of eligibility and Jamie [Ashworth] mentioned this opportunity to do two degrees in two years I became very interested,” said Bryzgalova.

Beyond just the educational opportunity of Fuqua, both athletes had the opportunity to take on a new team…

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