GOLD RIVER, Calif. - Sacramento State opened Big Sky Conference play at home on Saturday with a 4-3 loss to Northern Arizona and a 6-1 victory over Southern Utah at the Spare Time Indoor Tennis Center. Every singles player won at least one match for the Hornets.
Sacramento State and Northern Arizona were co-regular season Big Sky champions last year and their 2017 meeting was tightly contested as well. The Lumberjacks opened the day with a 6-1 win at No. 1 doubles before both of the other doubles matches went to tiebreakers, with NAU prevailing 7-5 at No. 3 and 7-6 (6) at No. 2 to earn the first point.
Sacramento State picked up two quick wins out of the gate in the No. 1 and 2 singles match as junior Ana Loaiza Esquivias won 6-0, 6-1 at No. 1 and freshman Karina Vyrlan won 6-1, 6-3 at No. 2. The Lumberjacks had straight-set wins at No. 4 and 6 and clinched the match when Blanka Szavay outlasted junior Andie Mouzes, 7-5, 6-4, at No. 3. Sophomore Sofia Wicker ended the match on a high note for the Hornets as she defeated NAU's Marta Lewandowska in a lengthy battle that saw her win 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 at No. 6.
Sacramento State dominated conference foe Southern Utah in the second leg of the double header Saturday, winning 6-1. In doubles play, the Hornets took two out of three matches to earn the first point. At No. 1, Vyrlan and Loaiza Esquivias made quick work of their opponent winning 6-1 but Southern Utah had a 6-3 win at No. 2. The point was decided at No. 3, where Wicker and freshman Sofia Gulnova outlasted the Thunderbird pair of Cloe Stocking and Charity Sagiao, 6-3.
Sacramento state took five wins in coming up only one win shy of a sweep. The home team took the first five matches in order before falling in the last match of the day. Loaiza Esquivias improved to 6-1 on the season in number one matchups with her 6-2, 6-0 victory over SUU's Evgenia Marushko, Mouzes cruised to a 6-1, 6-2 win at No. 3, and Wicker picked up her second win of the day as she defeated Sagiao 6-1, 6-2 at No. 5. Gulnova added a 6-0, 7-5 win at No. 6 but the T-Birds finished with a 3-set win at No. 2.
Up next for Sacramento State will be another home conference doubleheader against Montana and Montana State. The matches will take place on Saturday, March 4th with Montana slated for a 10:00 a.m. start time and Montana State to follow at 3:00 p.m.