WOMENâ€™S TENNIS CONTINUES ITS DOMINANCE OF THE BIG SKY WITH SIXTH CONSECUTIVE LEAGUE TITLE
GOLD RIVER, Calif. -- Freshman Katrina Zheltova, and sophomores Anastassia Lyssenko and Luba Schifris each posted straight-set victories to lead top-seeded Sacramento State to a 4-0 win over No. 2 seed Northern Arizona, and the Hornets’ sixth consecutive Big Sky Conference women’s tennis championship Sunday afternoon in the league’s tournament final at the Gold River Racquet Club.
Sacramento State has now won the Big Sky championship every year since 2002, and the Hornets extended their winning streak against Big Sky competition to 42 straight matches. During that span, the team has won 205 of a possible 219 individual matches. The Hornets shut out all seven conference opponents during the regular season by 7-0 scores, and won yesterday’s semifinal over Montana by a 4-0 score. Winners of five straight and nine of 11, Sacramento State improved its record to 17-6 overall. Northern Arizona concludes its season with a 12-10 record.
Sacramento State will now receive an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament, which begins on May 11. The Hornets will learn where and who they will play in the first round when the NCAA makes its women’s selections on Tuesday, May 1, at 11:45 a.m. PST. The men’s selections will be announced at 11:30 a.m. PST and the entire selection show can be watched live on ESPNEWS. The Hornets will be making their sixth consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance.
The women’s tennis championship capped a remarkable day which saw the Sacramento State men’s tennis, rowing and men’s golf programs all win league titles today. In fact, of the Hornets’ 20 intercollegiate programs, eight have already won a league title comprised of volleyball, gymnastics, men’s indoor track, women’s golf, men’s tennis, women’s tennis, men’s golf (Div. I Independent Championships) and rowing.
Sacramento State began the match by winning the doubles point as the Hornets’ No. 1 tandem of Zheltova/Schifris (8-4) and No. 3 tandem of Aileen Tsan/Lyssenko (8-1) each won their matches with relative ease.
Zheltova got the Hornets their second point of the match as she defeated Patrice Biemold at No. 1 singles by the score of 6-0, 6-1. Lyssenko then knocked off Katie Schurr at No. 2 (6-2, 6-1) to give Sacramento State is third point of the match. The contest and championship was clinched by Schifris at No. 3 after she dispatched of Leslie Vial by the score of 6-2, 6-2. The match was then stopped because Sacramento State already had the necessary four points for victory.
Sophomore Joyce Martinez Gutierrez (No. 4; 6-1, 1-1), senior Cecilia Helland (No. 5; 6-0, 4-0) and sophomore Karina Jarlkaganova (No. 6; 6-2, 2-2) were each winning their matches handily when the match ended.
Sacramento State should be well prepared for any stiff competition it will face in the NCAA Tournament as this year’s regular season schedule included eight matches against ranked competition. The Hornets, who are currently ranked 58th in the nation, posted a 2-6 record against those teams. However, three of those losses came by the narrow scores of 4-3 and two came at 5-2.
What makes the Hornets’ season even more impressive is the team primarily used five underclassmen (freshmen Zheltova and Tsan, and sophomores Lyssenko, Schifris and Martinez) and one senior (Helland) this season as the team’s top singles players. Jarlkaganova, who posted a 10-1 record this year at No. 6, replaced Tsan in today’s singles lineup.
Big Sky Women’s Tennis Conference Championship Match
Gold River Racquet Club (Gold River, Calif.)
Sacramento State 4, Northern Arizona 0
1. Zheltova/Schifris (SAC) def. Schurr/Vial (NAU), 8-4
2. Martinez Gutierrez/Helland (SAC) led McClelland/Biemold (NAU), 6-3 DNF
3. Aileen Tsan/Lyssenko (SAC) def. Regan Newman/Porter (NAU), 8-1
Order of Finish: 3, 1
1. Katrina Zheltova (SAC) def. Patrice Biemold (NAU), 6-0, 6-1
2. Anastassia Lyssenko (SAC) def. Katie Schurr (NAU), 6-2, 6-1
3. Luba Schifris (SAC) def. Leslie Vial (NAU), 6-2, 6-2
4. Joyce Martinez Gutierrez (SAC) led Susan McClelland (NAU), 6-1, 1-1 DNF
5. Cecilia Helland (SAC) led Paij Porter (NAU), 6-0, 4-0 DNF
6. Karina Jarlkaganova (SAC) led Stacey Pinchbeck (NAU), 6-2, 2-2 DNF
Order of Finish: 1, 2, 3