MEN'S TENNIS ENDS SEASON WITH 4-0 LOSS TO No. 9 STANFORD
STANFORD, Calif. — Marko Starcevic and Holden Ching teamed to record a doubles win and each were leading their singles match but it was not enough at ninth-ranked Stanford defeated Sacramento State, 4-0, in the first round of the NCAA Men's Tennis Championship on Friday.
Sacramento State, which concludes its season with a 19-7 record, was making its sixth NCAA Tournament appearance in the last 11 years. The
Hornets earned an automatic berth into the postseason event after winning the Big Sky Conference Tournament title two weeks ago. Sacramento State had won 18 of its last 20 matches prior to today’s loss.
Stanford, which was making its 30th NCAA Tournament appearance (since the current format began in 1977), is the tournament’s No. 9 seed and
is also ranked ninth in the nation by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association. The Cardinal (19-5) advanced to the second round of the tournament where they will take on Pepperdine, which defeated Cal in the first round earlier today.
Starcevic and Ching pulled the biggest upset of the day as the tandem knocked off the 40th-ranked duo of Blake Muller and Richard Wire, 8-5. However, the Cardinal rallied to win at No. 1 (8-5) and No. 3 (8-4) to secure the doubles point.
In singles play, Ryan Thatcher defeated Jason Smith, 6-3, 6-1, at No. 2 to push Stanford's lead to 2-0. The Cardinal extended its lead with a 6-4, 6-1, win over Artur Klimenka at No. 6.
The deciding point of the match came at No. 1 when 34th-ranked Bradley Klahn defeated Kiryl Harbatsiuk, 7-5, 6-3. The pair exchanged blows in the first set as it was tied, 5-5, before Klahn pulled away.
In the unfinished matches, Starcevic overcame a 6-3 loss in the opening set and evened his match with Wire with a 7-6 win in the second frame. Starcevic then captured the first two games of the third set.
Like Starcevic, Ching also rallied to force a third set. Ching fell behind to Muller with a 6-3 loss in the first set but bounced back with the exact same score in the second set. The third set was tied, 1-1, when the match was halted.
The Hornets, who continue to draw the stiffest of competition at the NCAA Tournament, have now lost in the first round of the tournament to Stanford three times (1999, 2002, 2009), UCLA (2001), Cal (2003) and Oklahoma State (2007).
Sacramento State was making its sixth NCAA Tournament appearance (1999, 2001-03, 2007, 2009) since joining the Div. I ranks in 1991-92. In addition, the team has won seven Big Sky Tournanent titles in the last 12 years (1998-99, 2001-03, 2007, 2009). The Hornets’ 19-7 record is the team’s second best mark in the last eight years, trailing only the 2007 squad’s 20-5 mark.
All of this comes despite the fact that Sacramento State’s roster contained no seniors and all but two players were underclassmen. In fact, the team’s singles lineup contained one freshman (No. 2 Smith), three sophomores (No. 1 Harbatsiuk, No. 4 Starcevic and No. 6 Klimenka) and two juniors (No. 3 Stryhas and No. 5 Ching). Every player will return next season.
May 8, 2009 - Stanford Calif.
NCAA Men's Tennis Championship - First Round
No. 9 Stanford 4, Sacramento State 0
1) No. 28 Thacher/Klahn (STAN) d. No. 58 Stryhas/Harbatsiuk (SAC) 8-5
2) Starcevic/Ching (SAC) d. No. 40 Wire/Muller (STAN) 8-5
3) Bruch/Kelly (STAN) d. Smith/Klimenka (SAC) 8-4
Order of Finish: 2, 3, 1
1) No. 34 Bradley Klahn (STAN) d. Kiryl Harbatsiuk (SAC) 7-5, 6-3*
2) Ryan Thacher (STAN) d. Jason Smith (SAC) 6-3, 6-1
3) Matt Bruch (STAN) led Anton Stryhas (SAC) 6-3, 5-3, aban.
4) Marko Starcevic (SAC) led Richard Wire (STAN) 3-6, 7-6, 2-0, adan.
5) Holden Ching (SAC) led Blake Muller (STAN) 3-6, 6-3, 1-1, aban.
6) Greg Hirshman (STAN) d. Artur Klimenka (SAC) 6-4, 6-1
Order of Finish: 2, 6, 1