GREAT RIO VALLEY – There have been a lot of positives during the 2022 spring season for the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley women’s tennis team.
The Vaqueros went 11-10 and clinched a 3-2 record in Western Athletic Conference play. The high-energy team was dominant in doubles, competitive in every match, and continued the program’s upward trajectory.
“It was a privilege to coach this team that was so positive and energetic. We had great team chemistry and that allowed us to exceed expectations,” the head coach said. nott west said. “We had adversity throughout the season with typical injuries and issues, but none of that seemed to derail us. It made us sharper mentally and we seemed to play better against a difficult situation. We had incredibly positive seniors who got the best out of the team and never allowed us to let our heads down.”
Success on the doubles court helped the Vaqueros build momentum early on. They have won the doubles point in their first four matches and in seven of their first 10. Overall, UTRGV posted a winning percentage of 0.579 in doubles, winning the doubles point in 13 matches and winning 33 doubles bouts. Doubles dominance was especially valuable in close matches. Seven contests resulted in scores of 4-3, with the Vaqueros winning five.
An impressive, season-best four-game winning streak midway through the season sparked a strong start to WAC play. After beating Omaha 5-2 and NJIT 4-3 at home, UTRGV hit the road and scored massive victories over Sam Houston and Abilene Christian in the first WAC group of the season, both at 4-3. The team’s relentless energy and positivity played a big part in the good streak.
“We had constant high-level training and I was just waiting for us to pull through in a pressure situation. It was only a matter of time,” Nott said. “Then we had a surge over spring break, creating special memories. Once we got the momentum going in those tight games, we were hard to stop.”
The UTRGV closed out the regular season with a 4-3 loss to Lamar to secure the No. 4 seed going into the conference tournament. They battled against a strong Seattle U side and finished narrowly, 3-4.
The end of the season ended the careers of four seniors – Sandra Putz, Katarina Sasaroga, Ana Platisa and Alicia Thal. Putz and Sasaroga have each recorded seven doubles wins. Sasaroga went 7-4, 3-1 WAC with the second Isabelle Bahr, placing Sasaroga in the program record books eighth with 37 career doubles wins. putz and junior Kristina Mamicova went 7-6, 1-1.
Three new Vaqueros shone. Freshmen Marjorie Souza and Barbara Martinez made the UTRGV’s No. 1 doubles pair and had a stellar rookie season, going 8-4 overall and 4-0 in conference en route to second-team All-WAC honors in doubles . Souza also earned All-WAC second-team singles honors after going 10-9, 3-2 playing mostly at No. 2. She led the team with 20 combined wins (10-7 in doubles) . Martinez mostly lined up at No. 4 and went 8-11, 2-3 and collected a team record 11 doubles wins with four partners.
Second year Stefanie Wilske took full advantage when his opportunity presented itself. After seeing limited action in the first half of the season, she went 5-1 through March and had a seven-game winning streak. She finished her first Vaqueros season 9-3, 3-2 at No. 5.
“The biggest surprise this season has been Stefanie Wilske“, Nott said. “She came off the bench and had the team’s best winning percentage in the dual season. She got a scholarship by proving herself.”
Bahr was “rock-solid, mentally relentless, dedicated and fiercely competitive” leading the roster to No. 1, Nott praised. She went 7-9 in singles and 11-5 in doubles. Second year Lea Karren was sidelined for most of the season due to injury, but returned to the lineup at the WAC Tournament and picked up a 6-1, 6-0 victory at No. ended his limited season with nine combined wins.
All the positives that the Vaqueros have taken advantage of will not be talked about for long. They have seen their advantages and they are looking forward to stepping up next season.
“To maintain momentum, we can’t be complacent,” Nott said. “We still have a ton of work to do in the conference to prove ourselves. We need to stay hungry, work like a dog and be more mentally mature on the pitch. We’re adding young talent to the roster and I don’t I have no doubt it will re-energize us for the year ahead.”
Support UTRGV women’s tennis | Become a fan on Facebook | Follow us on twitter | Follow us on Instagram | Follow us on YouTube