Sibling takeover at Cedarville University

Taylor Linton | April 10, 2019

A family atmosphere is at the heart of many successful collegiate tennis programs. For Cedarville University, that can be taken literally, as two sets of siblings lead the men’s and women’s teams.


Brothers Matthew and Philip Brumbaugh always knew one day that Cedarville would be their home. Being a Yellow Jacket is something that runs in their family; both of their parents played collegiate tennis at Cedarville, and a set of their grandparents attended the school, too.


Their father, Steve Brumbaugh, holds the school’s record for the most singles wins after winning 118 matches in his four years at Cedarville, from 1986-90. The brothers followed in their father’s footsteps to become successful and driven players.


Matt, a senior, holds the No. 1 position in both singles and doubles. In his time as a Yellow Jacket, he’s been a part of the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) All-American First Team three separate times. 


He’s also one of the only two upperclassmen on the team, alongside junior Alex Totten. 


“We’re a pretty young team; we have three freshmen and three sophomores out of eight players,” Matt said. “Getting people to play at a high level without much college experience is challenging, but they’re handling it really well. It’s a challenge we’re definitely stepping up to.” 


His younger brother, Philip, is one of the six underclassmen playing for the Yellow Jackets. Although only in his second season, Philip is one of many young players that have stepped up.


“Everyone has been improving and getting into the flow of things,” he said. “We have a younger team. Even myself, I’m still getting used to playing college tennis and improving.” 


Another player getting used to the college level at Cedarville is Liana English. Liana (pictured above) transferred to Cedarville from the World of Life Bible Institute to have the opportunity to play collegiate tennis alongside her twin sister, Janelle.


“Liana transferring here just happened. There were a lot of colleges who were looking to recruit her and I was already here. Liana decided to come here on a whim. I remember talking to her at the end of the year and she told me she was coming to Cedarville,” Janelle said.


The sisters are happy to be playing together. Liana believes Janelle’s tenacity is a big part in why she plays so well.


“Janelle is very disciplined and gives her all every single match,” she said. “That motivates me to always try my best and do the best I can.” 


Janelle has had a successful career, going undefeated her entire freshman season until the very last match. She was also nominated for conference Freshman of the Year honors. Liana jumped right into playing collegiate tennis as well, claiming the No. 1 spot on her team after taking an entire year off. 


“Playing No. 1 on the team, after taking a year off, I didn’t expect to be doing this well,” Liana said.


Both set of siblings are feeling very thankful to be playing alongside each other.


“Being able to play with Matt an extra two years after we played together in high school is really special,” Philip said. 


Both the men’s and women’s teams at Cedarville have had successful runs this season, and both have stayed in the Top 10 of the NCCAA National Rankings. Regardless of the outcome the rest of the year, both the Brumbaugh brothers and the English sisters know they’ll have each other’s backs, for this season and beyond.


Pictured: Liana English. Photo courtesy of Cedarville University.



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