SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The Sacramento State women's tennis team officially wrapped up their 2018 season this past weekend with their annual end-of-year team banquet. The event served as an opportunity to look back on an exciting season and recognize the team's top performers and performances.
The Hornets finished their 2018 seasons with an 11-12 overall record, though they dominated in conference play, finishing with a 9-2 record against conference opponents, the third best mark in the Big Sky last season.
The 2018 season was also one filled with changes for the Hornets, as they welcomed first-year head coach Cami Hubbs, as well as first-year assistant coach Taylor Hollander and four new players.
The end-of-year banquet also featured new awards. In addition to the team's traditional MVP and Most Improved Player awards, coach Hubbs introduced the Iron Hornet Award and the Coaches Award.
The Coaches Award: Sonya Gulnova, So.
The Coaches Award is given to a player chosen by the coaching staff based on overall contributions, work ethic, motivation, attitude, and other, sometimes intangible, attributes. Sonya battled injury and other setbacks over the course of the season, but bought in fully to her team's new program and helped urge her teammates forward over the course of an often-times trying season.
The Iron Hornet Award: Carolina Chernyetsky, RSo.
Also new for the 2018 season was a new emphasis on strength and conditioning training. Carolina was chosen by coach Hubbs, assistant coach Hollander, and strength coach Josh Jirgal for her dedication to and success both on the court but also in the weightroom.
Most Improved Player: Jenna Dorian, Fr.
Jenna Dorian was one of three newcomers to the 2018 women's tennis team and made an immediate impact in her first season with the Hornets. A true freshman, Jenna started the season slow (4-7 first 11 matches), but developed into one of the team's most consistent points by the end of the season (7-3 final 10 matches). She finished 9-2 in Big Sky singles play, tied for the best conference record on the team.
Most Valuable Player: Ana Loaiza Esquivias, Sr.
Ana Loaiza Esquivias came into her senior season already as one of the program's winningest players and didn't miss a step in her final season. Ana finished the year 16-6 overall in singles play and 9-2 in Big Sky singles. For the second straight season, she was named to the Big Sky Conference first team. Her drive and desire to win, coupled with her veteran leadership (she was the team's only senior), made her an invaluable addition to a young squad going through transition.
In addition to the individual team awards, the Sacramento State women's tennis team was recognized by the Sacramento State Athletic Department at the annual Green and Golden Globes Awards ceremony.
For the fifth straight season, the women's tennis team took home the Academic Women's Team of the Year Award after posting a cumulative 3.553 team GPA.
Loaiza Esquivias was an Honorable Mention for Female Senior Scholar-Athlete of the Year, awarded to the female student-athlete with the highest GPA. She was also nominated for the new Clutch Play of the Year Award for her thrilling win at the number one singles position at Idaho State.
Season Notes and Highlights
A Bit About Ana
Ana Loaiza Esquivias went 16-6 overall in singles play, leading the team in wins for the third consecutive season...Ana went 9-2 in Big Sky singles play, tied for the best record on the team (also Jenna Dorian)...Ana was named the Big Sky's Women's Tennis player of the week three times this season...she received the honor seven time throughout her career...Ana was named to the Big Sky's first team all-conference for the second straight season.
Keeping It Close
Seven of Sacramento State's 23 matches were decided by one match...the Hornets were 4-3 this season in those seven matches...in each of the four wins, a freshman won the deciding match.
Carolina Chernyetsky played a team-high 18 matches at the number one doubles team with three different partners over the course of the season...her five doubles wins were the most on the team.
Sofi Wicker, the team's only junior and just one of four returners to the 2018 team, stepped up to play multiple roles for the Hornets all season...played matches at the number two, three, and four singles position, compiling a 5-14 overall record (4-6 Big Sky)...also played with five different doubles partners at the number two and three doubles positions over the course of the season.
Three different Hornets had a win streak of four or more matches this season...freshman Shamika Dhar won four straight to end the season from April 14-22...sophomore Sonya Gulnova won five straight matches in the middle of the season, from March 2-10, including a win on the road at Arizona...Ana Loaiza Esquivias won five consecutive matches twice this season, from March 18-30 and April 13-22.
Jenna Dorian finished her debut season with an 11-10 overall singles record, including 9-2 in Big Sky play...Shamika Dhar was 7-7 overall and 6-3 in conference singles competition...Frana Ugarkovic went 2-2 overall, including 1-1 against Big Sky opponents...a redshirt freshman playing her first season with the team, Maria Gonzalez was 9-14 overall, including 5-6 in the Big Sky...combined, the four newcomers were 29-33 overall in singles competition, including an impressive 22-13 against Big Sky opponents.