GOLD RIVER, Calif. — Sacramento State's Marek Marskoo, Aliaksandr Malko and Sean Kolar each won their singles matches in straight sets to help the Hornets to a 4-1 victory over Montana in the Big Sky Tournament men's tennis championship match Sunday afternoon at the Gold River Racquet Club.
With the win, the Hornets (17-12) won their fifth straight Big Sky Tournament championship, and 11th in the last 16 years. In addition, the team will gain the league's automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament (May 10-11). The NCAA Div. I Tournament appearance will be the 10th in school history, and the Hornets will find out where and who they will play in the first round when selections are made on Tuesday, April 30, at 2 p.m. PDT.
The Hornets, who earned the No. 1 seed at the tournament after sharing the league's regular season title with Montana State, defeated Weber State, 4-0, in the semifinals yesterday. Since joining Big Sky in 1996-97, the Hornets have now won 11 regular season titles (1998-99, 2001-03, 2007-11, 2013), and 11 tournament championships (1998-99, 2001-03, 2007, 2009-13).
In addition, Sacramento State has won 13 of its last 16 matches, and went 11-1 against Big Sky competition this year (regular season and tournament matches included).
"Our guys played really well today, and showed toughness, character and will to defeat a very good Montana team," Sacramento State assistant coach Kevin Kurtz said. "Montana played amazing tennis, and we needed a very good performance from our players to beat them today.
"Our guys battled and gave 100 percent effort, and that's what we've been about all year. We are excited to see what our team can do at the NCAA Tournament."
Today, the Hornets faced a Montana squad (11-8) that Sacramento State defeated, 6-1, earlier this season at home. The Hornets began the match by winning the doubles points after the tandems of Kolar and Roy Brandys won at No. 2 by an 8-6 score, followed by Tom Miller and Henrik Raag winning at No. 3 by an 8-5 score.
Marksoo, who is currently ranked 117th in the nation, won his match at No. 1 by a 6-0, 6-0 score over Mikolaj Caruk to give the Hornets a 2-0 lead. Sacramento State made it 3-0 after Malko won his match at No. 2 against Andrew Warren by a 6-2, 6-3 score.
The match clincher came from Kolar (No. 4) who beat Ethan Vaughn, 6-4, 6-4. Montana got its only point of the match at No. 5 after Niranjan Ram was forced to retire because of injury while trailing, 7-5, 4-3 to Semion Branzburg. All other matches were halted before their conclusions because Sacramento State already had the necessary four points to clinch victory.
Montana vs Sacramento State
Apr 28, 2013 at Gold River Racquet Club
(Gold River, Calif.)
Sacramento State 4, Montana 1
1. MARKSOO, Marek (SAC) def. CARUK, Mikolaj (UM) 6-0, 6-0
2. MALKO, Aliaksandr (SAC) def. WARREN, Andrew (UM) 6-2, 6-3
3. BRANDYS, Roy (SAC) vs. FACEY, Michael (UM) 5-7, 5-4, unfinished
4. KOLAR, Sean (SAC) def. VAUGHN, Ethan (UM) 6-4, 6-4
5. BRANZBURG, Semion (UM) def. RAM, Niranjan (SAC) 7-5, 4-3, retired
6. MILLER, Tom (SAC) vs. DROST, Zach (UM) 4-6, 6-2, 3-0, unfinished
1. MALKO, Aliaksandr/MARKSOO, Marek (SAC) vs. CARUK, Mikolaj/FACEY, Michael (UM) 6-5, unfinished
2. KOLAR, Sean/BRANDYS, Roy (SAC) def. VAUGHN, Ethan/WARREN, Andrew (UM) 8-6
3. MILLER, Tom/RAAG, Henrik (SAC) def. BRANZBURG, Semion/BRAUN, Eric (UM) 8-5
Sacramento State 17-12
Order of finish: Doubles (3,2); Singles (1,2,5,4)