MENâ€™S TENNIS BEATS NORTHERN ARIZONA, CLAIMS ITS NINTH BIG SKY CHAMPIONSHIP
BOZEMAN, Mont. — Behind singles victories from seniors Kiryl Harbatsiuk and Marko Starcevic and junior Jason Smith, the Sacramento State men’s tennis team defeated Northern Arizona, 4-1, to win the 2011 Big Sky Conference Tournament title. The match was played at the Bobcat-Anderson Indoor Tennis Center.
With the win, Sacramento State claimed its third straight Big Sky Tournament title and ninth overall, and will receive the league’s automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament. The Hornets will find out who and where they will play when selections for the NCAA Tournament are made on Tuesday, May 3, at 2:30 p.m. The first and second rounds will take place May 13-14.
The Hornets (14-13) completed a perfect season against conference opposition, having gone 8-0 in the regular season and 2-0 in the league’s postseason tournament. That included a 4-0 victory against tournament host Montana State in yesterday’s semifinal matchup.
Since joining the Big Sky in 1996-97, the Hornets have won 10 regular season titles (1998-99, 2001-03, 2007-11), nine tournament championships (1998-99, 2001-03, 2007, 2009-11) and the NCAA Tournament appearance will be the team’s eighth (1999, 2001-03, 2007, 2009-11). The Big Sky champion did not receive an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament until the 1999 season.
Sacramento State opened things by winning two doubles matches easily to claim the doubles point. The Hornet tandems of Harbatsiuk/Starcevic (8-4) and Javier Millan/Josh Lorentzen (8-2) each won in quick fashion.
In singles play, Smith increased the Hornets’ lead to 2-0 after beating Patrick Schimmelbauer, 6-4, 7-6. Harbatsiuk gave Sacramento State a 3-0 lead after winning his 23rd consecutive singles match, defeating Hugo Ramadier, 6-3, 6-7, 6-0. Northern Arizona (9-12) sliced the lead to 3-1 when David Flodberg won at No. 4, but Starcevic clinched the win at No. 3 for the Hornets with a 6-7, 7-6, 7-5 win.
“I’m really excited for our seniors (Harbatsiuk, Starcevic and Joe DeGuzman) as Kiryl and Marko both factored heavily in today’s victory,” Sacramento State assistant coach Kevin Kurtz said. “We play a tough schedule every year in preparation for the Big Sky and NCAA Tournaments, and that paid off for us again. We have talented players on this team and I’m hoping we can make a run in the NCAA Tournament.”
Of the Hornets’ 27 matches played this season, 10 have come against ranked opponents (the Intercollegiate Tennis Association ranks the top 75 teams).
Northern Arizona vs Sacramento State
Apr 24, 2011 at Bozeman, Mont.
(Bobcat-Anderson Tennis Center)
Sacramento State 4, Northern Arizona 1
1. #27 HARBATSIUK, Kiryl (SACMEN) def. RAMADIER, Hugo (NAU) 6-3, 6-7, 6-0
2. SMITH, Jason (SACMEN) def. SCHIMMELBAUER, P (NAU) 6-4, 7-6
3. STARCEVIC, Marko (SACMEN) def. PEZZUTTO, Robin (NAU) 6-7, 7-6, 7-5
4. FLODBERG, David (NAU) def. MILLAN, Javier (SACMEN) 4-6, 7-6, 6-3
5. MALKO, Aliaksandr (SACMEN) vs. BERMUDEZ, Dominic (NAU) 6-2, 3-2, unfinished
6. LORENTZEN, Josh (SACMEN) vs. BROWN, Josh (NAU) 6-4, unfinished
1. HARBATSIUK, Kiryl/STARCEVIC, Marko (SACMEN) def. RAMADIER, Hugo/BERMUDEZ, Dominic (NAU) 8-4
2. SMITH, Jason/MALKO, Aliaksandr (SACMEN) vs. FLODBERG, David/PEZZUTTO, Robin (NAU) 5-3, unfinished
3. MILLAN, Javier/LORENTZEN, Josh (SACMEN) def. SCHIMMELBAUER, P/LANTZ, Ben (NAU) 8-2
Northern Arizona 9-12
Sacramento State 14-13
Order of finish: Doubles (3,1); Singles (2,1,4,3)
2011 Big Sky Conference Tennis Championship