MENâ€™S TENNIS DRAWS SECOND-RANKED USC IN FIRST ROUND OF THE NCAA TOURNAMENT
Three-time Big Sky MVP Kiryl Harbatsiuk will enter the NCAA Tournament on a 23-match singles winning streak
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — For the eighth time in 13 years, the Sacramento State men’s tennis team will make an appearance at the NCAA Tournament, it was announced today by the selection committee.
The Hornets (14-13), who earned an automatic berth into the NCAA’s by defeating a pair of teams in the Big Sky Conference Tournament, will travel to Los Angeles to take on second-ranked and No. 2 seed USC (21-2) in the first round. The two teams will play on Friday, May 13, at 2 p.m. Live stats and video of the match will be offered by clicking here.
The other first-round matchup played at USC’s Marks Stadium will feature 31st-ranked San Diego (18-6) and 35th-ranked BYU (21-5) on Friday at 11 a.m. The winners of those the two first-round matches will play for a spot in the Round of 16 on Saturday, May 14, at noon.
Sacramento State faced USC earlier this year in the season opener for both teams where the Trojans posted a 6-1 win in Los Angeles. Sophomore Aliaksandr Malko posted a 6-4, 6-4 win at No. 4 singles to pick up the Hornets’ lone victory in the match. The Hornets and Trojans have played one other time, a 7-0 USC win in Los Angeles to open the 2009 spring season.
Sacramento State enters the tournament as winners of 10 of its last 15 matches. The team completed an 8-0 season in Big Sky play, and posted victories over both Montana State and Northern Arizona in the semifinal and championship matches, respectively, at the league’s postseason tournament two weekends ago. The Hornets are led by three-time Big Sky MVP Kiryl Harbatsiuk who will enter the NCAA Tournament on a 23-match singles winning streak (all at No. 1 in the team's lineup).
Sacramento State will be making its third straight and eighth NCAA Tournament appearance (1999, 2001-03, 2007, 2009-11), and has won nine Big Sky Tournament championships (1998-99, 2001-03, 2007, 2009-11) and 10 Big Sky regular season titles (1998-99, 2001-03, 2007-11).
USC is the two-time defending national champion and has won a record 18 national titles dating back to 1946. The Trojans will head into the tournament on a 14-match winning streak and feature the nation’s top ranked player in junior Steve Johnson who won both the Pacific-10 Conference singles and doubles titles last weekend.
Of Sacramento State’s seven NCAA Tournament appearances, the team has lost its first round matchups at Stanford three times (1999, 2002 and 2009), UCLA twice (2001, 2010), Cal (2003) and Oklahoma State (2007). Sacramento State has now drawn the regional host in the first round of all eight of the team’s appearances at the NCAA Tournament.
The 16 national seeds in this year’s men’s bracket are as follows: No. 1 Virginia, No. 2 USC, No. 3 Tennessee, No. 4 Ohio State, No. 5 Baylor, No. 6 Georgia, No. 7 Florida, No. 8 Stanford, No. 9 Texas A&M, No. 10 Kentucky, No. 11 Duke, No. 12 UCLA, No. 13 Texas, No. 14 Cal, No. 15 Georgia Tech and No. 16 North Carolina.
All first and second round matches (May 13-14) are played on campus sites, and the final 16 teams will play at the NCAA Championships (hosted by Stanford) beginning on May 19.