HARBATSIUK NAMED BIG SKY MVP AGAIN; MENâ€™S TENNIS EARNS THREE FIRST TEAM SELECTIONS
Kiryl Harbatsiuk became just the third tennis player in Big Sky history to win league MVP honors on three occasions
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — After sweeping through the conference tournament and winning its ninth Big Sky Tournament title, the Sacramento State men’s tennis team was rewarded with four players being placed on the all-conference team, including three first teamers and the league’s MVP.
Senior Kiryl Harbatsiuk took home conference MVP honors for the third straight year, becoming the first player in school history to earn Big Sky MVP honors on three occasions. In fact, a Sacramento State player has now received MVP accolades five straight years, comprised of Harbatsiuk (2009-11), Anton Stryhas (2008) and Xavier Barajas-Smith (2007). In addition, Harbatsiuk joins Montana State’s Federico Ueltschi (2004-06) and Idaho State’s Mike Castrilli (1992-94) as the only three men's tennis players in Big Sky history to earn conference MVP honors three times.
Harbatsiuk was also named first team for the fourth straight year, and is joined on the first team by juniors Jason Smith and Javier Millan. Senior Marko Starcevic was named honorable mention. Smith has now been named to the first team all three years of his Sacramento State career. The three first teamers matches a school record, and Harbatsiuk joins Stryhas (2007-10) as the only two Hornets to be named first team all-Big Sky all four years of their careers.
On the heels of a perfect 8-0 mark against conference teams, Sacramento State won the Big Sky Tournament championship last weekend for the ninth time and will gain the league’s automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament. The Hornets will find out who and where they will play in the NCAA Tournament on Tuesday, May 3, at 2:30 p.m. The first and second rounds will take place May 13-14.
Harbatsiuk is currently 23-2 in singles play this year (all at No. 1 in the Hornets’ lineup) and has won an incredible 23 straight singles matches. He finished last season on a 25-match singles winning streak and has now won 48 of his last 50 singles matches dating back to 2010. The Minsk, Belarus, native became the highest ranked singles player in school history when he began the year as the 16th ranked player in the nation. He is now ranked 27th, and of his 23 singles wins this season, 19 have come in straight sets. Harbatsiuk went 8-0 in Big Sky matches this year and is now 33-1 in singles play against conferene opposition since his freshman year. In doubles play this season, Harbatsiuk went 13-6, including a 12-5 mark in the No. 1 spot of the lineup. His career dual-match record is now 88-13 in singles play and 65-26 in doubles play.
A native of Davis, Calif., Smith posted a 14-12 dual singles record, and 13-13 in doubles play. He posted a 7-1 record in Big Sky matches in both singles and doubles play. Smith spent the entire season as the Hornets’ No. 2 singles player, while primarily playing at No. 2 in doubles. He was ranked as the 106th best player in the nation by the ITA midway through the season, and had a season-high five-match winning streak from March 11-26. He also defeated Patrick Schimmelbauer in straight sets at No. 2 in the Big Sky Tournament championship match. In his three season with the Hornets, Smith is now 55-26 in dual singles play and 46-29 in doubles play.
In his first season with Sacramento State after transferring from Scottsdale Junior College, Millan went 14-12 overall in singles play while playing in the Nos. 3, 4, 5 and 6 spots of the team’s lineup. He also posted 12 victories in doubles play. The Hermosillo, Mexico, native went a perfect 8-0 in singles play in Big Sky matches, and 6-2 in doubles play. He won nine straight matches from March 11-April 6, and each of those victories came in straight sets. One of his victories came in a three-set win in the Big Sky Tournament semifinals at No. 4 over Montana State’s Diego Campos Contreras.
Starcevic has now been named honorable mention all-conference all three years of his Sacramento State career. This year, the Zagreb, Croatia, native spent nearly the entire season at No. 3 where he posted a 13-12 dual singles record, including 5-3 in conference matches. He went a team-best 16-7 in doubles play, including 6-0 against conference opposition. Midway through the season, Starcevic had an eight-match singles winning streak. In addition, he posted victories at No. 3 in both the Big Sky Tournament semifinal and championship matches. For his career, he is 44-32 in dual singles matches, and 53-22 in doubles.