BROWNSVILLE – The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) Vaqueros women’s tennis team got its spring break started in the most thrilling way, taking a hard-fought 4-3 victory over the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) Highlanders at the Brownsville Tennis Center on Monday.
After the match, 100 kids ranging from 4 to 18 years old converged on the tennis center to enjoy a free kids clinic led by the Vaqueros. They were split into four age groups and ran a multitude of drills with the UTRGV student-athletes and head coach West Nott†
Younger attendees worked on ball and racket control before advancing into hitting. Nearly 20 high school tennis athletes, including most of the Brownsville Hanna Golden Eagles team, did competitive drills on their courts and picked up tips from a group of Vaqueros.
During the match, UTRGV (8-4) and NJIT (6-5) found themselves tied at 3-3 with one match in progress. Vaqueros senior Katarina Sasaroga was heading to a deciding third set in her No. 6 bout with Shalom Salvi after winning the first 6-2 and dropping the second 4-6.
Because of an infraction on another court, Sasaroga started the third frame in a 0-1 hole. Salvi opened up a 3-0 lead. But with her teammates cheering her on, Sasaroga fought back to a 3-3 tie. The powerful senior used well-placed rocket shots to earn the 6-4 win in the third and secure the victory for UTRGV.
The Vaqueros took a 1-0 lead with doubles wins in the top two flights, courtesy of No. 1 freshmen duo Barbara Martinez and Marjorie Souza and the no. 2 duo or sophomore Isabelle Bahro and senior Katarina Sasaroga† The Vaqueros led the No. 3 match 5-4 but it went unfinished once the point was won.
Bahr made it 2-0 in favor of the Vaqueros with a 6-4, 7-5 win at No. 1 – her fourth in a row. NJIT (6-5) got a point back at No. 3, then sophomore Stefanie Wilske picked up a solid 6-1, 7-5 win at No. 5 to make it 3-1.
The Highlanders tied things up with singles wins at No. 2 and no. 4, but Sasaroga kept them from stealing a road win.
The Vaqueros open Western Athletic Conference play on Saturday at 11 am at Sam Houston.
Singles (1, 3, 5, 2, 4, 6)
1. Isabelle Bahro (UTRGV) def. Joleta Budiman (NJIT) 6-4, 7-5
2. Aya El Sayed (NJIT) def. Marjorie Souza (UTRGV) 6-2, 6-4
3. Amira Badawi (NJIT) def. Sandra Putzo (UTRGV) 6-2, 6-3
4. Sandra Dzhambazov (NYIT) def. Barbara Martinez (UTRGV) 2-6, 6-2, 6-2
5. Stefanie Wilske (UTRGV) def. Advaita Saravanan (NJIT) 6-1, 7-5
6. Katarina Sasaroga (UTRGV) def. Shalom Salvi (NJIT) 6-2, 4-6, 6-4
Doubles (2, 1)
1. Barbara Martinez†Marjorie Souza (UTRGV) def. Aya El Sayed/Sandra Dzhambazov (NJIT) 6-2
2. Isabelle Bahro†Katarina Sasaroga (UTRGV) def. Advaita Saravanan/Amira Badawi (NJIT) 6-2
3. Sandra Putzo†Kristyna Mamicova (UTRGV) vs. Joleta Budiman/Shalom Salvi (NJIT) 5-4, unfinished
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