ZHELTOVA EARNS FOURTH BIG SKY PLAYER OF THE WEEK AWARD THIS SEASON
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Sacramento State sophomore Katrina Zheltova was named the Big Sky Conference Women’s Tennis Player of the Week for the fourth time this season after knocking off Cal’s Susie Babos – the 2006 NCAA singles champion – last week.
Zheltova, who was last year’s Big Sky MVP as a freshman and has now earned conference player of the week honors seven times during her two-year career, has moved up to 36th in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) rankings after the victory.
Zheltova, a native of Minsk, Belarus, also earned the award earlier this season on Feb. 5, Feb. 19, and April 8. A Sacramento State player has now received the weekly honor six times this year, including Karina Jarlkaganova on March 4 and Anastassia Lyssenko on April 1.
Sacramento State, which is ranked 51st in the nation as a team, lost last week’s match to eighth-ranked Cal (6-1), but Zheltova knocked off Babos at No. 1 by the score of 6-4, 6-4. Babos is ranked 18th in the nation by the ITA, and was the winner of the 2006 NCAA Women’s Singles Championship, as well as the winner of the last two Riviera/ITA All-American singles titles.
Zheltova and Babos had one prior meeting in their respective careers, which took place in Zheltova’s first-ever collegiate dual match last season, with Babos pulling out a 6-2, 4-6, 10-7 (in the super tiebreaker) victory.
The win for Zheltova marked the second time this season she has beaten a top-20 opponent. The first occurrence came on Jan. 16 when she defeated Katie Rybakova of Florida State, who was then ranked No. 16 in the country, by a score of 6-2, 7-6 (8-6). Zheltova is now 4-2 against ranked opposition this season.
Sacramento State (19-6, 8-0) will attempt to win its seventh consecutive Big Sky Conference Tournament championship this weekend when it hosts the conference tournament (April 25-27) at the Gold River Racquet Club. The winner of the Big Sky Tournament receives an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament, a place the Hornets have been each of the last six years.