By Bryanna McDermott | The Duquesne Duke
At four years old, Julianne Herman watched her older brother play tennis in their hometown of Philadelphia, dreaming of beating him one day. Now, as a four-time Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Week winner, Herman’s chances of beating her big brother have improved a lot.
Herman’s four A-10 ROW honors are second-most in the program’s history, right behind Zena Williams, who won the award six times in 2008. Herman has won 12 of her 16 singles matches this season and went undefeated in Duquesne’s 6-1 victory over Saint Francis University on March 25th.
“It feels amazing. I didn’t expect to be awarded for competing,” Herman said about earning the award. “I try not to think about myself when I play, I think about fighting for my team.”
For Herman, tennis is an unrelenting passion that not only brought her across the state to Duquesne, but made her into the person she is today. Tennis can teach you a lot about life, according to Herman.
“During a match, there can be a lot of distractions, but you have to focus and get through them. In life, you also have distractions and challenges,” Herman said. “The only way to overcome them is to face them head on and give your all.”
Herman is no stranger to high-class competition. At Archbishop Ryan High School, she went undefeated in the Philadelphia Catholic League, qualified for the PIAA State Singles Championship in all four years, and was a four-year AAA All-Catholic and City of Philadelphia MVP.
Moving from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh made Herman nervous, but she quickly found her home-away-from-home with the tennis team.
“The team and coaches were amazing from the first practice. If I ever need help, they are the first ones to give it to me,” Herman said. “We support each other.”
Time management has been one of her biggest challenges, according to Herman. Currently, Herman is an undecided major in the McAnulty College of Liberal Arts, but she has applied to the Business School for next semester. Although still undecided, she is leaning toward Sports Marketing to continue her passion for sports.
Herman humbly devotes her successful tennis career to those around her. She said that without her coaches, teammates and parents, she wouldn’t be playing Division I tennis.
Assistant coach, Vanessa Steiner, acknowledged how, even as a freshman, Herman has become a leader on and off the court.
“Julianne is a fierce competitor, using her power and placement to outthink and overpower her opponent,” Steiner said. “She is also a wonderful teammate.”
Sophomore Kylie Isaacs is Herman’s doubles-partner, and the two have gotten close throughout the season. Isaacs said that Herman is a hard worker with a contagious positive attitude.
“We have not only had success on the court, but we have become great friends off,” Isaacs said. “She’s one of the funniest people I know.”
Herman and Isaacs are 16-1 in doubles, winning nine of their last 10 matches.
“Not everyone can say they get to play the sport they love every day at a collegiate level,” Herman said. “I am so blessed to have tennis in my life.”