FOUR MENâ€™S TENNIS PLAYERS RECEIVE ALL-LEAGUE HONORS, STRYHAS NAMED MVP
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- After winning its second straight Big Sky Conference regular season championship with a perfect 8-0 record, the Sacramento State men’s tennis team placed four players on the all-conference team, including three first teamers and league’s MVP.
Sophomore Anton Stryhas, and freshmen Kiryl Harbatsiuk and Artur Klimenka were each selected to the first team, while junior Sven-David Rueff earned second team honors. Stryhas earned conference MVP honors, becoming the fourth Hornet men’s tennis player to receive most valuable player accolades, joining Xavier Barajas-Smith (2007), Sherif Zaher (2001-02) and Jason Weiss (1998).
Stryhas recently completed arguably the most impressive season in school history, finishing the year 22-1 in singles play at both the team’s Nos. 1 and 2 spots in the lineup. In fact, the Minsk, Belarus, native won each of his last 20 matches of the season. He was 11-0 at No. 1, 10-1 at No. 2 and 1-0 at No. 3. Eighteen of his 22 singles victories came in straight sets, including 6-3, 6-1 and 6-2, 6-0 victories at last weekend’s Big Sky Tournament. His only loss came in three sets on Feb. 9 against Sam Tadevosian of Loyola Marymount. He also teamed with Harbatsiuk to go 18-4 in doubles play. Combined, Stryhas posted a 40-5 record in singles and doubles play this year.
Harbatsiuk posted an 18-5 singles record, including 8-4 at No. 1 and 10-1 at No. 2 in the Hornets’ lineup. He was a perfect 10-0 against Big Sky opponents, and finished the year winning his last five and 10 of his last 11 matches of the season. The Minsk, Belarus, native also teamed with Stryhas to go 18-4 in doubles play. Combined, Harbatsiuk, who was one of three freshmen on the Hornets’ roster, went 33-12 in singles and doubles this year.
Klimenka received first team honors after going 15-8 in singles, and 14-6 in doubles play. He played nearly every singles match at No. 3 for the Hornets, going 15-7 at No. 3 and 0-1 at No. 2. Another native of Minsk, Belarus, Klimenka teamed with Rueff to go 13-4 in doubles at both the Nos. 2 and 3 spots in the lineup. Ten of Klimenka’s 23 singles matches were stretched to three sets, and he posted a 10-1 record in those matches.
Rueff, a native of Basel, Switzerland and a transfer from Flagler College, had an impressive second half of the season that saw the junior win each of his last 12 singles matches. Overall, Rueff went 15-8 in singles play, including 1-1 at No. 4, 11-6 at No. 5, and 3-1 at No. 6. He combined with a pair of teammates to go 15-5 in doubles play, including 13-4 with Klimenka. Rueff was a perfect 10-0 against Big Sky opposition, including a three-set victory to clinch a 4-3 Hornet win against Montana in the Big Sky Tournament semifinals.
Sacramento State finished the 2008 season with a 15-8 overall record and an 8-0 mark in the conference, but had a disappointing 4-3 loss in the Big Sky Tournament championship match to Eastern Washington. That cost the team a spot in the NCAA Tournament, a place the Hornets had been five times in nine years heading into the year.