MENâ€™S TENNIS NOW ALONE IN FIRST PLACE AFTER WIN OVER EASTERN WASHINGTON
Senior Javier Millan erased a 0-5 deficit in the first set and a 3-4 deficit in the second set to provide the match-clinching win at No. 2 singles
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Sacramento State’s Aliaksandr Malko, Javier Millan, Marek Marksoo and Jonathan Hultkrantz were each victorious in singles play to lead the Hornets to a 4-3 win over Eastern Washington in a Big Sky Conference men’s tennis match Tuesday afternoon at the Spare Time Indoor Tennis Center.
With the win, the Hornets (5-10, 4-0) won their second straight match and remained perfect in Big Sky play. The team sits all alone in first place in the league standings with four conference matches remaining on the schedule. Sacramento State also won its 23rd consecutive match against a Big Sky opponent dating back to 2010. The Hornets will attempt to win their fourth straight Big Sky Tournament championship next month at the Gold River Racquet Club.
Eastern Washington, which had been tied with Sacramento State atop the Big Sky standings, dropped to 9-7 overall and 3-1 with the loss.
The Eagles began things by winning two of the three doubles matches to earn the doubles point. Marksoo and Millan were victorious at No. 1 (8-3), but Hornet tandems lost at Nos. 2 and 3.
In singles play, Marksoo tied the match at 1-1 with a convincing 6-2, 6-1 victory over Mario Navarro at No. 3. Malko then put the Hornets ahead, 2-1, with a 6-2, 6-4 win at No. 1. After Eastern Washington tied the match at 2-2, the Hornets got victories from Hultkrantz and Millan to secure the necessary four points for victory.
While Hultkrantz turned in a relatively quick 6-3, 6-2 win at No. 6, it was Millan who pulled out one of the more clutch, comeback performances in recent memory. Playing at No. 2, Millan, who is the team’s lone senior, erased a 0-5 deficit in the first set and a 3-4 deficit in the second set to win his match over James Russell by a 7-6 (6), 6-4 score.
Sean Kolar lost his match at No. 4 in three sets, but the Hornets had already clinched the victory with Millan’s win at No. 2.
“After losing the doubles point, I thought our guys really competed hard and beat a very good Eastern Washington team,” Sacramento State assistant coach Kevin Kurtz said. “Mentally and physically, we played well in singles, and need to get that mindset going in doubles as well. We’ve played a tough non-conference schedule (matches against five ranked teams), and I think that helped us in preparation for the Big Sky portion of the schedule.”
Sacramento State will look for its third straight win this Saturday when the team hosts UC Riverside at 1 p.m.
Eastern Washington vs Sacramento State
Mar 27, 2012 at Gold River, Calif.
(Spare Time Indoor Tennis Center)
Sacramento State 4, Eastern Washington 3
1. MALKO, Aliaksandr (SAC) def. CUIC, Ilija (EWU-M) 6-2, 6-4
2. MILLAN, Javier (SAC) def. RUSSELL, James (EWU-M) 7-6 (8-6), 6-4
3. MARKSOO, Marek (SAC) def. NAVARRO, Mario (EWU-M) 6-2, 6-1
4. HENNINGER, Chad (EWU-M) def. KOLAR, Sean (SAC) 4-6, 7-6, 6-2
5. SANCHEZ, Julian (EWU-M) def. BRANDYS, Roy (SAC) 6-3, 6-1
6. HULTKRANTZ, Jonathan (SAC) def. KOETJE, Kyle (EWU-M) 6-3, 6-2
1. MARKSOO, Marek/MILLAN, Javier (SAC) def. KOETJE, Kyle/RUSSELL, James (EWU-M) 8-3
2. HENNINGER, Chad/SANCHEZ, Julian (EWU-M) def. KOLAR, Sean/MILLER, Tom (SAC) 8-4
3. NAVARRO, Mario/CUIC, Ilija (EWU-M) def. MALKO, Aliaksandr/BRANDYS, Roy (SAC) 9-7
Eastern Washington 9-7, 3-1 Big Sky
Sacramento State 5-10, 4-0 Big Sky
Order of finish: Doubles (1,2,3); Singles (3,1,5,6,2,4)