SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- The Sacramento State men's tennis team was crowned Big Sky Conference champions for the third time in the last four years with a convincing 5-1 victory over Northern Arizona in the championship match Sunday morning at Rio Del Oro Racquet Club.
With the win, the Hornets will receive an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament, marking the second time in the last three years the team will make an appearance in the NCAA's. The NCAA Tournament field of 64 will be announced on Thursday, May 3, at 1 p.m. PST.
The Hornets, who have now won eight-straight matches and 18 of their last 19, improved their overall record to 20-2. Northern Arizona had defeated Montana and Idaho State to advance to the championship match. Sacramento State beat the Lumberjacks all three times the two played this season including a regular-season victory and a win two weeks ago at the Big Sky Regionals.
The Hornets' doubles teams of Sherif Zaher/Joseph Gilbert (No. 1) and Sylvain Iff/Nick Sheehan (No. 3) each won their respective matches to give Sacramento State the doubles point.
In singles action, Zaher (No. 1), Chris Smith (No. 3), Gilbert (No. 4) and Kevin Vieira (No. 6) each posted straight-set victories to lead Sacramento State to the win. Northern Arizona's Daniel Lundstrom (No. 2) beat Fabio Jesus to give the Lumberjacks their lone point. Smith's and Vieira's matches ended simultaneously giving the Hornets five points, although they needed just four points for victory.
Sacramento State also won the Big Sky title in 1998 and 1999 with its only NCAA Tournament appearance coming in 1999. The 20-2 record marks the best in program history and the team's 10-match winning streak earlier this year is also a program best.
The 2001 NCAA Div. I Men's Tennis Selection Show on May 3 can be accessed on the internet at www.ncaachampionships.com.
The women's Big Sky championship match will be concluded later in the day as Cal State Northridge takes on Weber State.
SACRAMENTO STATE 5, NORTHERN ARIZONA 1
1. Sherif Zaher (SAC) def. Rodolfo Cisneros (NAU), 6-1, 7-6 (5)
2. Daniel Lundstrom (NAU) def. Fabio Jesus (SAC), 6-1, 6-1
3. Chris Smith (SAC) def. Erik Karlsson (NAU), 6-3, 6-4
4. Joseph Gilbert (SAC) def. Ivan Volkov (NAU), 6-3, 6-0
5. Sylvain Iff (SAC) vs. Adrian Venturi (NAU), DNF
6. Kevin Vieira (SAC) def. Jeff Johnson (NAU), 7-5, 6-4
1. Zaher/Gilbert (SAC) def. Volkov/Cisneros (NAU), 8-4
2. Smith/Vieira (SAC) vs. Venturi/Johnson (NAU), DNF
3. Iff/Nick Sheehan (SAC) def. Karlsson/Lundstrom (NAU), 8-3