JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (April 10, 2023) – The final week of the 2023 spring season has arrived for ETSU women’s tennis, as the Bucs will play one of their final two regular season matches on Tuesday, April 11 against Western Carolina at 2 p.m. in Cullowhee, N.C.
SCOUTING THE BUCS
The Bucs bring a 15-6 overall record into tomorrow’s match, including a perfect 5-0 record in Southern Conference matches this year. The five wins include victories over UNCG, Mercer and Chattanooga at home, as well as Wofford and Samford on the road.
Last time out, ETSU combated the elements won back-to-back home matches over Mercer and Chattanooga — both 6-1 finals — despite schedule changes and venue changes forced by inclement weather. The Chattanooga win came on Senior Day as ETSU honored four graduating players — Laylo Bakhodirova (Tashkent, Uzbekistan), Mariya Shumeika (Minsk, Belarus), Emilia Alfaro (Azul, Argentina) and Yunuen Elizarraras (Cuernavaca, Mexico).
Bakhodirova, a fifth-year senior, leads the Bucs from the top flight with an impressive 15-3 overall record. All 15 of her wins have come from the No. 1 singles spot. She is on a six-match win streak and is the reigning SoCon Athlete of the Month for both February and March. In doubles, Bakhodirova and Shumeika have a 13-6 overall record.
Below the top flights, Daniela Rivera (Maturin, Venezuela) has been on fire with a 16-3 overall record, including an 8-2 record at No. 4 singles and a 8-1 record at the No. 5 spot. She has won eight straight matches in singles. Rivera is also on a five-match win streak in doubles alongside Maria Fernanda Carvajal (Queretaro, Mexico), as the pair have a 13-4 record at No. 2 doubles. Carvajal is 12-6 individually this season with a 12-4 record at No. 3 singles.
Ralitsa Alexandrova (Sofia, Bulgaria) is another key player in the singles lineup, owning a seven-match win streak and a 12-4 record in singles. Five of her wins has been at the No. 5 spot, while the other seven are in the sixth slot. Alfaro and Elizarraras have combined for 11 singles wins this season, including a 5-3 record for Alfaro at No. 4 singles and a 4-4 record for Elizarraras at No. 6 singles. Both also have a win when playing one spot up.
The Bucs are led by Ricky Rojas, who won his 100th career match as a head coach last month against UNCG. Rojas’ squad has been ranked twice this season in the ITA ratings. As a team, the Bucs own a 76-39 record in singles matches and a 32-22 record in doubles. The Bucs are also 29-3 in singles action against SoCon opponents.
SCOUTING THE CATAMOUNTS
Western Carolina is 13-7 overall and 1-3 in SoCon matches after a 5-2 setback at Wofford on Sunday. The Catamounts took the doubles point and Chloe Schwarz earned her second victory of the day with a 7-5, 6-1 win at No. 6 singles.
Outside of Wofford, the Catamounts have two other conference losses to Furman (5-2) and Mercer (4-3), while owning a 4-3 win over UNCG at home.
Schwarz has a perfect 8-0 record in singles to lead the Catamounts, going 4-0 in both the No. 5 and No. 6 spots. Top flight player Isabella Sambola is 9-8 on the season and will likely play the top spot. Below her in the lineup is typically Jade Groen with a 12-5 singles record and Angela Perez with a 13-3 singles record.
Doubles has been a mix for WCU this season with nine different player combinations. The most consistent team resides on Court 3 with Groen and Andrea Redondo owning a 12-3 record together. Schwarz and Perez are 4-1 as a pair and 2-0 in conference play — playing all matches on the first court.
The Catamounts close out the season with a pair of home matches this weekend, hosting Chattanooga at 11 a.m. on Friday and Samford at 1 p.m. on Saturday at the Catamount Athletics Complex.
ETSU has a 12-match winning streak against its foe from over the mountain, dating back to 2012 by a combined score of 76-6. WCU’s last win over ETSU came at home on March 26, 2006. The series goes back as far as 1978 with the Bucs owning a 32-3 record against the Catamounts.
Last season, ETSU swept WCU in straight sets. Elizarraras had a perfect 6-0, 6-0 win and was joined by Bakhodirova, Carvajal, Alfaro and Rivera with a win last season over the Catamounts as far as returning players.
AFTER THIS MATCH
After tomorrow’s match, ETSU closes the regular season with a highly anticipated matchup against Furman. First serve is set for 11 a.m. in Greenville, S.C.
For the latest information on Buccaneer women’s tennis, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the women’s tennis page.