STRYHAS AND HARBATSIUKâ€™S NCAA TOURNAMENT RUN COMES TO AN END
COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- One day after upsetting the second-ranked doubles team in the nation, Sacramento State’s tandem of Anton Stryhas and Kiryl Harbatsiuk lost in the second round of the NCAA Doubles Championship Friday afternoon to North Carolina’s Clay Donato and Taylor Fogleman, 6-3, 7-6 (3).
Stryhas and Harbatsiuk, who are ranked as the 58th best collegiate doubles team in the nation by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA), were making Sacramento State’s first-ever appearance at the NCAA Doubles Championship. The tandem advanced to the second round of the tournament yesterday after defeating LSU’s Neal Skupski and Michael Venus by the score of 7-6 (9), 7-6 (5). Skupski and Venus were the tournament’s No. 3 seed and are ranked second in the nation by the ITA.
Today, Donato and Fogleman, who are ranked 17th in the nation, used a dominant serve to gain control of the match early and then hung on for the win in the second-set tiebreaker. Sacramento State broke North Carolina’s serve just once the entire afternoon, and that came in the first game of the match.
After the Hornets took the early 1-0 lead, Donato/Fogleman won six of the next eight games to claim the first set by the score of 6-3. The second set was much closer as both teams remained on serve the entire way. Sacramento State led in games, 5-4, and 6-5, but North Carolina tied the match each time to force the second-set tiebreaker.
In the tiebreak, Donato/Fogleman jumped out to a 3-0 lead and never trailed the rest of the way. Sacramento State closed to within, 4-3, but Stryhas’ second double fault of the tiebreak gave North Carolina a 5-3 lead. The Tar Heel tandem then won the next two points to claim the set and match.
Donato/Fogleman will play the winner of Texas A&M’s Austin Krajicek/Conor Pollock and Middle Tennessee’s Robert McKenzie/John Peers in the quarterfinals tomorrow.
Stryhas and Harbatsiuk’s run at the single-elimination tournament comes to a close. The tandem finished the spring with a 16-8 doubles record, and helped lead the Hornets to an NCAA Team Championship appearance, a Big Sky Conference championship and a 19-7 overall record.
Both players will return to the Hornets’ lineup next year, as Stryhas is currently a junior and Harbatsiuk a sophomore. Harbatsiuk and Stryhas were each named first team all-conference, while Harbatsiuk was the Big Sky’s MVP.
If the tandem would have won today’s match, they would have gained All-America status as players that reach the quarterfinals of the NCAA Doubles Championship automatically receive the honor.