FORT WORTH – The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Vaqueros women’s tennis team will be represented by junior Isabelle Bahr and sophomore Marjorie Souza at the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Regional Championships from Sept. 22-24 at TCU’s Bayard H. Friedman Tennis Center.
The regional tournament brings together the best of the best in NCAA Division I women’s tennis. There are 128 participants facing off in 64 singles matches starting at 8 am Thursday. The bracket splits in half each round with winners advancing to the main bracket and losers heading to the consolation bracket.
This will be the first time Bahr and Souza compete at the tournament and the first competition of the fall season for the Vaqueros squad. Bahr faces Texas A&M-Corpus Christi’s Naomi McKenzie and Souza will take on Texas Tech’s Camryn Stepp in the Round of 64 at 8 am Thursday.
In doubles competition, Bahr/Souza will battle Lamar duo Jayci Wong/Emma Shasteen when the doubles action commences shortly after the conclusion of the opening round of singles matches on Thursday.
“I’m so excited for the opportunity. I was bugging coach West Nott last year because I really wanted to go, so I’m super excited to go this year with Marjorie,” said Bahr, who has been filling UTRGV’s No. 1 singles flight since her freshman season. “We get to compete against great players in Texas. There are some gameday nerves, of course, but mainly excitement. It’s a great accomplishment for both of us.”
Bahr focused on developing her forehand and her mental toughness over the summer. Nott said the junior also increased the speed and accuracy behind her shots. Souza worked on her strength and Nott praised the growth she has shown from last year to now. Nott is eager to see how the No. 1 and No. 2 players on his roster match up against other standouts at ITA Regionals.
“We want to see if they can compete a little better against bigger schools. They’re really hungry to compete against those players in this first event,” Nott said. “Izzy is moving more explosively and is more levelheaded. Marjorie’s serve and really just her overall game has improved. I have no doubt they’re going to perform.”
Bahr and Souza teamed up to play four doubles matches in the 2021 fall season and went 3-1. They didn’t link up in the spring season, but they’ve rekindled their connection quickly and feel confident in the way they’re playing together.
Though it will be a different feel not having the whole team there cheering them on, Bahr and Souza will be supporting each other as they “fight hard” and represent UTRGV with pride.
“Our chemistry is super good right now,” Souza said. “I have been working to be more aggressive on the court and also the mental part, to be stronger and more competitive. I like the way I’ve been playing. I’m excited to play against the big players and just have fun and see how it goes.”
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