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MIAMI, Fla. (March 16, 2023) – Spring Break in South Beach ended on a sweet note for ETSU women’s tennis on Thursday, as the Bucs collected their first win over a nationally-ranked team this season with a 5-2 victory over No. 72 Yale in a neutral site meeting in Miami.
ETSU has defeated a ranked opponent in three of the last four seasons, including wins over No. 45 Appalachian State in 2020 and No. 52 Charlotte in 2022 back in Johnson City.
With the win, ETSU heads back into Southern Conference play with a 10-5 record, while Yale drops to 8-7 overall.
ETSU collected the doubles point in dramatic fashion to start the match. After easily winning at the No. 3 spot with a 6-1 victory from Emilia Alfaro (Azul, Argentina) and Ralitsa Alexandrova (Sofia, Bulgaria), the Bulldogs responded with a 7-6 win at No. 2 doubles.
This left it up to top pair Laylo Bakhodirova (Tashkent, Uzbekistan) and Mariya Shumeika (Minsk, Belarus), who got the job done with a thrilling 7-6 win for their 10th win of the season.
With that momentum heading into singles, Bakhodirova extended the ETSU lead with a 6-2, 6-1 win at No. 1 singles. Following up on her three-set win over FIU’s Katerina Mandelikova yesterday, Daniela Rivera (Maturin, Venezuela) added a 6-3, 6-1 win over Yale’s Sophia Zaslow at No. 5 singles to make it 3-0.
Alexandrova — ETSU’s other single winner yesterday — picked up another victory at the No. 6 spot to clinch the match. She defeated Rebecca Lynn 6-1, 6-1 en route to the team’s 10th win of the season.
The other three matches went three sets, including a 6-1, 2-6, 6-4 win by Alfaro at No. 4 singles over Vivian Cheng. Though she did not win, perhaps the most exciting match came between Shumeika and Chelsea Kung at No. 2 singles. Shumeika won 7-6 in the first set, but Kung leveled it back up with a 6-3 win in set two. The tiebreaker went past 10, as Shumeika was edged 11-9 in the third frame.
The Bucs will have back-to-back SoCon matches on the road next week, starting in Spartanburg, S.C. at Wofford on Friday, March 24 at 3 p.m. and ending on Sunday, March 26 in Birmingham, Ala. against Samford.