Bakhodirova named SoCon Player of the Year; five Bucs honored
Bakhodirova named SoCon Player of the Year; five Bucs honored
Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Rojas wins third straight SoCon Coach of the Year honor

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (April 19, 2023) – After five long years, Laylo has finally won the big one.

The Southern Conference announced its women’s tennis postseason awards on Wednesday afternoon in Chattanooga, officially naming ETSU’s Laylo Bakhodirova (Tashkent, Uzbekistan) as the SoCon Player of the Year.  

Bakhodirova, a fifth-year senior, has played No. 1 singles for ETSU since 2019. Coming off her best season yet, the 2023 SoCon MVP has a career record of 61-34 — including a 17-3 record at No. 1 singles this season. She ended the season on an eight-match winning streak and finished perfect against the best from the SoCon with a 7-0 league record. 

In addition to Bakhodirova, ETSU head coach Ricky Rojas was honored as the 2023 SoCon Women’s Tennis Coach of the Year for the third straight season. Rojas is the first head coach to win back-to-back-to-back SoCon Coach of the Year honors since Furman Hall of Famer Debbie Southern, who won it seven times from 2003-09.

Rojas led ETSU to its 20th consecutive winning season — the last seven of which came under his watch. Rojas now has a career record of 95-58 in seven seasons leading the women’s program. Combined with his wins while leading the men’s program for a short stint in 2017, Rojas notched his 100th career victory as a head coach this season against UNCG.

In total, ETSU had four players earn honors from the Southern Conference. 

Joining Bakhodirova on the all-conference first team was redshirt junior Maria Fernanda Carvajal (Queretaro, Mexico), who finished with a 14-6 overall record in singles and a flawless 7-0 record in conference play. Carvajal won her lone match at No. 2 singles and went 13-4 in the No. 3 spot, while ending the season on a four-match winning streak. Carvajal and Bakhodirova were two of six players on the all-conference first team. 

Earning second team all-conference honors was sophomore Daniela Rivera (Maturin, Venezuela), who had an outstanding 18-3 record between No. 4 and No. 5 singles and finished 7-0 in SoCon matches. Rivera is riding a 10-match win streak into this week’s tournament. She finished with a 9-2 record in the fourth spot and a 9-1 record in the fifth spot.

The SoCon honored four pairings on the first team all-conference doubles list, with ETSU owning two of the four spots. Bakhodirova and first flight partner Mariya Shumeika (Minsk, Belarus) were honored as first team all-conference with a 14-7 doubles record in the top flight and a 5-2 record in the SoCon. Meanwhile, the pairing of Carvajal and Rivera were also honored after going 15-4 overall and 6-0 in the SoCon from the No. 2 spot.


2023 Southern Conference Player of the Year

Laylo Bakhodirova, Sr., ETSU


2023 Southern Conference Freshman of the Year

Isabella Sambola, Western Carolina


2023 Southern Conference Coach of the Year

Ricky Rojas, ETSU


2023 Southern Conference Sportsmanship Award

Breda Brennan, So., Wofford


2023 All-Southern Conference Women’s Tennis

First team


Laylo Bakhodirova, ETSU

Maria Fernanda Carvajal, ETSU

Ellie Schulson, Furman

Teodora Ristic, Mercer

Mary Weston Courville, Mercer

Alexis Lopez, Samford


Laylo Bakhodirova/Mariya Shumeika, ETSU

Maria Fernanda Carvajal/Daniela Rivera, ETSU

Jess Dawson/Sara Snyder, Furman

Mary Weston Courville/Teodora Ristic, Mercer


Second team

Singles (by position)

No. 1 – Jessie Young, Chattanooga

No. 2 – Breda Brennan, Wofford

No. 3 – Brianna Wilbur, Wofford

No. 4 – Rozalie Dohnalova, Chattanooga

No. 5 – Daniela Rivera, ETSU

No. 6 – Luca Victoria Vocke, Furman


No. 1 – Caroline Gibbens/Jessie Young, Chattanooga

No. 2 – Rozalie Dohnalova/Lucia Melendez, Chattanooga

No. 3 – Jade Groen/Andrea Redondo, Western Carolina



Luca Victoria Vocke, Furman

Marina de Diego Quinones, Mercer

Cameron Rogin, Samford

Jade Groen, Western Carolina

Leilany Ipunesso, Western Carolina

Isabella Sambola, Western Carolina



ETSU will begin SoCon tournament play tomorrow at 3 p.m. against No. 7 Western Carolina in the quarterfinal round. For more information on this weekend’s tournament, including the bracket, directions to the Champions Club, tournament history and much more, click here

For the latest information on Buccaneer women’s tennis, visit and click on the women’s tennis page.