MEN'S TENNIS WINS FOURTH STRAIGHT BIG SKY TITLE WITH 4-0 WIN OVER MONTANA
GOLD RIVER, Calif. — Aliaksandr Malko and Tom Miller were both victorious in singles and doubles action to help the No. 2 seed Sacramento State men's tennis team upend top-seeded Montana, 4-0, in the championship match of the Big Sky Tournament on Sunday at the Gold River Racquet Club.
The victory avenged the Hornets' lone conference loss during the season and handed the Grizzlies (16-5) their first loss against a conference opponent after posting an 8-0 regular season record. The win also gave Sacramento State (11-12) its fourth straight Big Sky Tournament title and 10th overall. The team will receive the league's automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament and will find out who its first-round opponent will be in the 64-team field when the draw is released on Tuesday, May 1, at 3:30 p.m. PT on ncaa.com.
Since joining the Big Sky in 1996-97, the Hornets have won 10 regular season titles (1998-99, 2001-03, 2007-11), 10 tournament championships (1998-99, 2001-03, 2007, 2009-12) and the NCAA Tournament appearance will be the team’s ninth (1999, 2001-03, 2007, 2009-12). The Big Sky champion did not receive an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament until the 1999 season.
What makes the season even more impressive is the Hornets played every match with either four or five freshmen in the lineup, including four freshmen (Marek Marksoo, Sean Kolar, Roy Brandys and Miller) in today's victory.
“To win a Big Sky Conference championship with so many freshmen on the roster is a tribute to the team’s hard work and dedication throughout the season,” Sacramento State assistant coach Kevin Kurtz said. “The whole squad really bonded together and turned this season into something special.”
Sacramento State struck first on Sunday, winning the doubles point behind in a pair of close matches. Kolar and Miller combined for an 8-6 win at No. 2 over Michael Facey and Ethan Vaughn. The Hornets then secured the point with an 8-5 win at No. 3 from Brandys and Malko.
Once in singles play, the Hornets moved quickly to end the match. Malko defeated Carl Kuschke for the second time this year with a 6-2, 6-2, decision at No. 1. Miller followed with a 6-0, 6-3, win at No. 6 over Andreas Luczak before Javier Millan sealed the contest with a 6-1, 6-2 victory at No. 3 over Andrew Warren.
In the regular season meeting between the two teams, Montana prevailed, 4-3, in Missoula behind the play of the lower half of its order.
The Hornets are now 3-0 since flip-flopping Marksoo and Millan in the Nos. 2 and 3 spots. Part of those changes also included moving Brandys to No. 5 and inserting Miller at No. 6.
Sacramento State vs Montana
Big Sky Men's Tennis Championship
Apr 22, 2012 at Gold River, Calif.
(Gold River Racquet Club)
No. 2 Sacramento State 4, No. 1 Montana 0
1. MALKO, Aliaksandr (SAC) def. KUSCHKE, Carl (UM) 6-2, 6-2
2. CARUK, Mikolaj (UM) vs. MARKSOO, Marek (SAC) unfinished
3. MILLAN, Javier (SAC) def. WARREN, Andrew (UM) 6-1, 6-2
4. FACEY, Michael (UM) vs. KOLAR, Sean (SAC) unfinished
5. VAUGHN, Ethan (UM) vs. BRANDYS, Roy (SAC) unfinished
6. MILLER, Tom (SAC) def. LUCZAK, Andreas (UM) 6-0, 6-3
1. CARUK, Mikolaj/WARREN, Andrew (UM) vs. MARKSOO, Marek/MILLAN, Javier (SAC) unfinished
2. KOLAR, Sean/MILLER, Tom (SAC) def. FACEY, Michael/VAUGHN, Ethan (UM) 8-6
3. BRANDYS, Roy/MALKO, Aliaksandr (SAC) def. DEMAROIS, Ben/KUSCHKE, Carl (UM) 8-5
Sacramento State 11-12
The University of Montana 16-5
Order of finish: Doubles (2,3); Singles (1,6,3)