COLUMBUS, Ohio (May 5, 2023) – A strong season for the ETSU women’s tennis team ended on Friday morning at Ohio State University, as the Bucs were defeated in the first round of the NCAA D1 Women’s Tennis Championship by a 4-0 final against No. 29 Vanderbilt.
The Bucs have not had a losing season since 2003, completing their 20th straight winning season today with a 19-8 overall record. In the last 20 years, ETSU has compiled a 296-143 record to average nearly 15 wins per season. The 19 wins are the most by ETSU under sixth year head coach Ricky Rojas and also mark the most since winning 20 matches in 2016.
Additionally, the 2023 season also ranks third for the highest amount of wins since 2000, ranking only behind the 2006 season (23-5) and the aforementioned 2016 season (20-3). All three seasons, ETSU swept the conference tournament without losing a point and made it to the first round of the NCAAs.
ETSU — the 2023 Southern Conference champion — held its own early on in Friday’s match with a lead in all three doubles matches through the first few points. Vanderbilt surged back to win on Courts 1 and 3, but ETSU showed its competitiveness heading into singles.
Despite two 6-4 sets and two 6-3 sets, Vanderbilt won the first set of all six singles matches to put ETSU’s back against the wall. The Bucs remained competitive in the second sets, but the Commodores clinched on Court 2, Court 1 and Court 5 to end ETSU’s run. In the latter two matches, SoCon Player of the Year Laylo Bakhodirova (Tashkent, Uzbekistan) fell 6-3, 7-5 in a highly competitive second set against No. 24 ranked Celia-Belle Mohr, who also qualified for the NCAA Individual Championships later this month.
Reigning SoCon Player of the Month and SoCon Tournament Most Outstanding Player Daniela Rivera (Maturin, Venzuela) fell in the clinching match on Court 5, also ending her second set with a heartbreaking 7-5 loss.
Elsewhere around the stadium, Maria Fernanda Carvajal (Queretaro, Mexico) was set to begin a third set against Anessa Lee on Court 3 — falling 6-3 in the first set but winning 6-4 in the second set. Ralitsa Alexandrova (Sofia, Bulgaria) also had a good battle on Court 6, overcoming a 6-1 loss in the opening frame to tie 6-6 in the second frame. The match was clinched by Vanderbilt during her tiebreaker with Marcella Cruz.
The last match in singles was happening on Court 4. As Emilia Alfaro (Azul, Argentina) had a 5-2 lead in the second set and was on the verge of tying her match to force a third set before Vanderbilt ended it. Alfaro and Yunuen Elizarraras (Cuernavaca, Mexico) fell 6-3 in a tough doubles battle on court three, while Bakhodirova and Mariya Shumeika (Minsk, Belarus) fell 6-4 against the No. 44 ranked duo of Cruz and Mohr in the top flight. Carvajal and Rivera went unfinished in a 5-4 battle, making all three matches interesting.
The Commodores will face the winner of No. 10 Ohio State and Xavier on Saturday, May 6 at 4:00 p.m. The winner of that match will advance to the Round of 16 in Orlando, Fla.
For the full NCAA bracket, click here.
For the latest information on Buccaneer women’s tennis, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the women’s tennis page.