Bakhodirova, ETSU wins ITA Regional Awards
Bakhodirova, ETSU wins ITA Regional Awards
Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Bakhodirova named Ohio Valley Region’s Most Improved Senior, ETSU receives community service honorable mention

TEMPE, Ariz. (June 6, 2023) – ETSU women’s tennis celebrated two awards from the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) on Tuesday, as Laylo Bakhodirova (Tashkent, Uzbekistan) was named the Ohio Valley Region’s Most Improved Senior, while the team was selected as an honorable mention for the ITA Community Service Award.

The ITA Most Improved Senior Award recognizes a senior or graduate student that has improved the most over the course of their collegiate career, including contributions in leadership, sportsmanship and performance. A student-athlete may only receive the award once in their career.

Bakhodirova fit the criteria exceptionally, posting a 62-34 singles record and 51-55 doubles record over her five years at ETSU. After going 9-10 as a freshman, she finished 18-3 in singles, 16-7 in doubles and was tabbed the 2023 Southern Conference Player of the Year as a fifth-year senior.

In addition to her Player of the Year award, Bakhodirova was a first team all-conference selection for both singles and doubles, won four SoCon Player of the Week awards and collected a pair of SoCon Player of the Month awards in February and March. For her career, Laylo won seven weekly accolades — becoming the first player from a school other than Furman to win more than five times.

Bakhodirova’s achievements also caught the attention of her ETSU peers, as the Buccaneer Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) voted her as the 2022-23 Female Athlete of the Year and tabbed her as one of two seniors to give an encouraging keynote speech as the annual Bucky Awards hosted on campus.

On top of her on-court accomplishments, Bakhodirova showed exceptional growth in the classroom and in the community over her five seasons. She became ETSU’s first-ever three-time SoCon Student-Athlete of the Week in any sport for excelling both in the classroom and on the court — including two awards this season. She was also named the SoCon’s Pinnacle Award Winner for women’s tennis, which is given to the SoCon athlete with the highest GPA on the championship-winning team.

Bakhodirova captained a squad that finished with a 19-8 record and won its first conference championship since 2016, sweeping Furman in the championship final just one week removed from a heartbreaking loss in the de facto regular season championship game.

While improving on the court year-to-year — starting with a challenging 2019 season as a rookie in the top flight, to a challenging COVID-19 season, to becoming one of the best players in SoCon Women’s Tennis history — Bakhodirova balanced a double major in Marketing and Management to graduate this spring with a high GPA.

Meanwhile, the ETSU women’s tennis team was heavily involved in the Tri-Cities community this season, including projects such as Coalition for Kids, volunteering at the Food City Fan Fest, All-Star Reading Night and preparing food for the less fortunate at First Presbyterian Church.

Every year, the ITA recognizes coaches and players for their excellence on the court and in their communities throughout the season.

The Division I Playing Awards include: Wilson ITA Coach of the Year, ITA Assistant Coach of the Year, Arthur Ashe Leadership & Sportsmanship, ITA Rookie of the Year, ITA Cissie Leary Award for Sportsmanship, ITA Most Improved Senior, ITA Senior Player of the Year and ITA Community Service Award.

The national award winners will be announced next Monday, June 12th. 

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