GREENVILLE, S.C. (April 15, 2023) – The Southern Conference women’s tennis regular season championship was decided by just one point on Saturday in Greenville, S.C., as ETSU fell in heartbreaking fashion by a 4-3 final against Furman.
Both teams entered with a perfect 6-0 record, meaning the winner would clinch the regular season title and the top seed in next week’s SoCon tournament, while the other team would secure the No. 2 seed in the tournament.
Furman snatched away the first point with doubles wins on Court 1 and Court 3. Though ETSU didn’t get the point, Maria Fernanda Carvajal (Queretaro, Mexico) and Daniela Rivera (Maturin, Venezuela) continued their run of doubles dominance with a 6-4 win to improve to 15-4 overall and 6-0 in the SoCon, while ending the regular season on a seven-match win streak.
Rivera quickly evened the score with a 6-2, 6-1 win at No. 5 singles over Madison Dillon, but Furman regained the advantage with a 6-2, 6-4 win on Court 2. ETSU’s next win came from top flight player Laylo Bakhodirova (Tashkent, Uzbekistan) who won a tightly contested first set and used that momentum for a 6-0 sweep in the second set.
Furman then took a 3-2 advantage with a win on Court 6, forcing ETSU’s backs against the wall. Needing both remaining points to stay alive, both Carvajal and Emilia Alfaro (Azul, Argentina) went to a third set against their respective opponents. Carvajal overcame a 3-6 loss in set one to win 6-3, 6-2 in the final two sets. This tied the match score at 3-3, leaving it up to the final match one court over.
Alfaro and opponent Jess Dawson battled to the absolute wire, with Alfaro winning 6-3 in set one and Dawson winning 6-4 in the second frame. With all eyes on the third set, Alfaro and Dawson engaged in a see-saw battle until the score was tied at 6-6. In the tiebreaker, Dawson edged Alfaro 8-6 to end the match in favor of Furman.
The Bucs end the regular season 16-7 overall and 6-1 in SoCon play, while Furman ends 11-11 overall and 7-0 in the league.
The Southern Conference tournament bracket will be finalized after Sunday’s matches involving Mercer/UNCG and Chattanooga/Western Carolina, as ETSU begins tournament play on Thursday, April 20 at 3 p.m. at Champions Club in Chattanooga, Tenn.
For the latest information on Buccaneer women’s tennis, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the women’s tennis page.