Five-star recruit Julia Dale-Eshet works to make splash at Oregon
Julia Dale-Eshet will be 3,270 miles from home when she begins her Division I tennis career. The high school senior from Miami, Florida, is another recruit the Oregon women’s tennis program snagged from the Sunshine State. Nia Rose, Daniela Nasser, Shweta Sangwan and former player Christi Woodson all have Florida roots.
For Dale-Eshet, the decision was simple.
“The coaches,” Dale-Eshet said. “They were very genuine and I want to be around genuine people.”
The answer is not a surprise, according to those who work with Dale-Eshet.
“She will always say what she thinks and she will never hold back,” said Gabriela Mateus, Dale-Eshet’s high school coach.
Dale-Eshet comes to Oregon as a five-star recruit ranked 25th in the nation by TennisRecruiting.net. Oregon initially contacted Dale-Eshet at the Eddie Herr International Junior Championships in late 2014.
Dale-Eshet later made an official visit to Oregon where she met players and learned more about the program that Mateus believes fits her well.
“I think she is going to love it,” said Mateus. “[Her] being there and having such an amazing facility will help her. She is a very structured girl, so once she sees that she is going to follow it.”
Until she arrives on campus in the fall, Dale-Eshet will focus on rehabilitating her knee. She tore her right ACL at a tournament last year and it is not expected to be back to 100 percent for another six months.
However, Dale-Eshet’s rehab has been ahead of schedule. She was able to play in her first tournament after a year on April 3. She can easily run and slide and she is consistently competing again.
An ACL injury for a player of Dale-Eshet’s style may be more serious than other players.
“She’s very quick, fast, and for being that small, she hits the ball hard,” said Mateus.
Her quickness and agility may be at risk if her knee fails to reach full health, but Mateus is not concerned about that. In fact, she found a silver lining.
“I think [the injury] was actually good timing for her,” said Mateus. “She needed to take a break to get in love with tennis again, and I think it helped her mature.”
Mateus believes the injury helped her develop mentally, but she also wants Dale-Eshet to improve her physical form.
“She has to get stronger. She is still very small so she still has to gain weight and put on muscle,” said Mateus. “My biggest concern with her playing Division I is the back-to-back matches.”
With her tennis time limited over the past year, Dale-Eshet has been able to focus on her other interest: music. She is releasing an EP soon, and her Facebook and Twitter profiles are full of pictures with guitars, microphones and other musical equipment.
“From Billy Joel to Chris Brown, I love and appreciate all styles of music,” said Dale-Eshet.
Come fall, Dale-Eshet will work to continue the long line of successful women’s tennis players from Florida.
Follow Jack Butler on Twitter @Butler917
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