MEN’S TENNIS BATTLES #24 CAL, BUT FALLS IN THE END, 5-2
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Sacramento State's Marek Marksoo and Aliaksandr Malko both posted victories over ranked players, but the Hornets lost to 24th-ranked Cal, 5-2, on Thursday afternoon at the Rio Del Oro Racquet Club.
The Hornets, who were playing just their second home match of the season, dropped to 3-7 with the loss. The team has used a lineup that consists of one senior and five underclassmen in every match this year, and despite the record, the young Hornets have kept things close in six of their seven losses.
That included today against a nationally ranked Cal squad (6-5) that fielded three ranked singles players and a ranked doubles team. Sacramento State claimed victories against two of those three ranked singles players, and the combination of Malko and Marksoo beat Cal's nationally ranked doubles team as well.
The Hornets, who were hosting Cal for the first time in the program's Div. I era (1992-pres.), could have just as easily won today's match if not for close losses at Nos. 3 and 6 in singles play.
"Everyone on the team is really starting to believe that we can beat anybody," Sacramento State assistant coach Kevin Kurtz said. "The team is getting more and more confident, and more importantly, we are getting better with every match we play."
The Golden Bears began things by taking two of the three doubles matches to earn the point. However, the duo of Malko/Marksoo did upset the nation's 18th-ranked doubles team in Campbell Johnson and Chris Konigsfeldt by an 8-6 score.
In singles play, Marksoo won at No. 1 over 56th-ranked Ben McLachlan, 6-4, 4-6, and 12-10 in the third set super tiebreaker. At No. 2, Malko knocked off 34th-ranked Chris Konigsfeldt, 6-2, 6-4. The win for Marksoo was his fourth straight singles victory, and he improved to 7-3 this year.
The Hornets' Sean Kolar nearly won his match at No. 3 before falling to 69th-ranked Campbell Johnson, 6-4, 6-4. In addition, Tom Miller, at No. 6, lost his match in a third set super tiebreaker to Nikhil Jayashankar. Cal's Gregory Bayane and Mads Engsted both won their matches at Nos. 4 and 5 in straight sets to round out the Golden Bears' singles wins.
Today began a stretch that will see Sacramento State play five home matches in six days, including Saturday when the team hosts both UT Arlington (10 a.m.) and Northern Arizona (3 p.m.).
California vs Sacramento State
Mar 07, 2013 at Sacramento, Calif.
(Rio Del Oro Racquet Club)
#24 California 5, Sacramento State 2
1. MARKSOO, Marek (SAC) def. #56 Ben McLachlan (CAL) 6-4, 4-6, 1-0 (12-10)
2. MALKO, Aliaksandr (SAC) def. #34 Chris Konigsfeldt (CAL) 6-2, 6-4
3. #69 Campbell Johnson (CAL) def. KOLAR, Sean (SAC) 6-4, 6-4
4. Gregory Bayane (CAL) def. BRANDYS, Roy (SAC) 6-1, 7-5
5. Mads Engsted (CAL) def. RAM, Niranjan (SAC) 6-1, 6-3
6. Nikhil Jayashankar (CAL) def. MILLER, Tom (SAC) 7-6, 1-6, 1-0 (10-3)
1. MALKO, Aliaksandr/MARKSOO, Marek (SAC) def. #18 Campbell Johnson/Chris Konigsfeldt (CAL) 8-6
2. Mads Engsted/Ben McLachlan (CAL) def. MILLER, Tom/KOLAR, Sean (SAC) 8-3
3. Gregory Bayane/Chase Melton (CAL) def. BRANDYS, Roy/RAAG, Henrik (SAC) 8-6
California 6-5; National ranking #24
Sacramento State 3-7
Order of finish: Doubles (2,3,1); Singles (2,4,5,3,1,6)