A new face on the Gonzaga women’s tennis team has already showed her potential to be a key player this upcoming season. Freshman Cate Broerman has stepped onto the court as a Zag only a couple of times but has made her mark early.
Broerman started quickly in her first collegiate tournament, the Cal Fall Invitational in Berkeley, California. She clinched a swift 2–0 semifinal win in Gold Singles to send her into the finals, where she fought hard but was handed a close 2-1 loss. Additionally, Broerman and her doubles partner, transfer junior Taylor Gruber, advanced all the way to a consolation final in Gold Doubles.
“I was really excited to just go out and compete as a Zag,” Broerman said. “I have been committed [to GU] for a year, so it was nice to finally go out and play a collegiate match.”
Broerman said she was excited to be paired with Gruber as her doubles partner.
“We had our good matches and not so good [matches], but now we are coming together,” Broerman said.
She said the dynamic is good because, since Gruber is a transfer, she has collegiate experience but is also new to the GU team like Broerman.
“Their energy together is huge,” head coach D.J. Gurule said. “How they compete together is everything.”
Gurule said he was glad they struggled at times and didn’t compete as well as they could because it was a great opportunity for growth.
“We knew she would be a great fit, we knew she would buy in,” Gurule said. “It was no surprise to us to see her perform like this.”
Roughly two months into her freshman year, Broerman said she’s had a comfortable transition into the team.
“I have always gotten along really well with girls who are older than me, always had to [play tennis] with girls older than me,” Broerman said. “I never really had the opportunity to play with girls my own age.”
Broerman also said the team’s seniors have been great role models and have helped her transition from high school to collegiate play.
“She has done a really good job buying in to our program,” senior Kate Ketels said. “She works really hard, she’s always ready for practice and she competes.”
Broerman loves Dutch Bros, so Ketels takes her there on the first day of each month to get her a sticker.
“She is a good kid; she is really fun to be around,” Ketels said. “She likes to talk so we just like to have her around to just talk to.”
Gurule also recognizes how well Broerman is adjusting to her new surroundings.
“She’s great, she’s charismatic, she gets along with everyone,” Gurule said. “We love it. That is something we value: how we treat each other on and off the court. ... It can be tough. There is tough love and soft love, and she fits right in.”
Coming to GU was an easy decision for Broerman, she said.
“I just loved [the coaches’] vision with where they want to take the program, especially since it is a smaller school,” she said. “I was looking at [higher-profile] schools, and they just didn’t have the same feel to me. I enjoyed the community here and how close-knit the academics and athletics are.”
Broerman wanted to ensure she went to a school where she could get a good education alongside her tennis career. She is studying sports management with a potential minor in promotions, and said some of her early courses have broadened what she can do with her major as a career.
“I potentially want to be a sports agent and go to law school,” she said. “But I’m also looking at other professions within the major.”
Broerman started focusing on junior tennis when she was 12 years old. She and her family had been living in Anthem, Arizona, at the time. However, Broerman’s parents decided to move out to Scottsdale, Arizona, so Broerman would have more opportunities to play tennis.
“I grew up just loving to play and always wanting to have a racket in my hand,” Broerman said.
Broerman then ventured outside of Arizona to play tennis, both nationally and internationally. She said she has been to over half of the United States and 10 countries for tennis. She spent a lot of time in Florida, training and competing in tournaments.
“I think this background has helped me in college because a lot of girls are international,” she said.
The travelling took a bit of a toll on Broerman. For international trips, Broerman said she would be gone for up to two weeks at a time.
“That was tough, having to balance school and tennis at the same time,” Broerman said. “You would come back from the day just drained because you were at the site from 7 [a.m.] to 4 [p.m.], and all you would want to do is shower, eat and go back to bed.”
Broerman grew up alongside her younger sister Kellyn. The two have grown closer as they’ve gotten older and said they talk every day.
Throughout the duration of her playing days, Broerman’s family has always been supportive.
“Back home, my parents would always say, ‘You do you, don’t worry ... we will handle the rest,’” Broerman said. “They have been awesome and I am so grateful.”
Gurule sees the tight bond between Broerman and her parents.
“Her dad was at [University of California] to watch that first tournament and was amazed that was the same daughter just 30 days in,” Gurule said. “[The improvement] is just natural of great athletes competing together.”