ZHELTOVA NAMED BIG SKY MVP FOR THIRD STRAIGHT SEASON, FOUR OTHER HORNETS NAMED ALL-BIG SKY
OGDEN, Utah - Sacramento State junior Katrina Zheltova was named the Big Sky Conference Most Valuable Player for the third straight year, joining four other Hornets who were named to the women’s tennis all-conference team.
Zheltova and freshman Maria Meliuk earned first team all-Big Sky honors. Redshirt freshman Clarisse Baca and senior Luba Schifris earned second team honors, while senior Joyce Martinez Gutierrez was named to the honorable mention squad.
A native of Minsk, Belarus, Zheltova, the now three-time reigning Big Sky MVP, went 12-4 in spring dual matches, all at the No. 1 singles position, despite missing 11 matches due to injury. Zheltova, who is currently ranked No. 84 nationally by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association, went 5-0 in regular season conference singles competition without dropping a single set. In doubles play with sophomore partner Melissa Valenzuela, Zheltova posted a 12-3 record, including a 4-0 mark in Big Sky play. The duo was nationally ranked for the latter portion of the season.
Meliuk, who is also a native of Minsk, Belarus, earned Big Sky Player of the Week honors four times during the season, the most of any player in the conference. She collected a 15-6 dual record in the spring, which included a perfect 7-0 mark in Big Sky conference play. Meliuk split time between the top three singles positions for the Hornets, posting a 4-1 mark at the top of the order, a 7-4 mark at No. 2 and a 4-1 mark at No. 3. In doubles play, Meliuk and junior partner Aileen Tsan posted a 16-5 mark, including an 8-0 record in Big Sky play.
Schifris became a four-time all-Big Sky performer after being named to the second team this season. The native of Blieskastel, Germany earned first team honors in both her freshman and sophomore seasons, and was an honorable mention selection a season ago. Schifris posted a 13-6 record for the spring, which included four Big Sky victories to no defeats. She saw time this season at the top four singles positions, but played the majority of her matches at the No. 3 (6-1) and No. 4 (6-1) positions.
After redshirting her first season at Sacramento State, Baca made an immediate impact this season, posting an 18-6 record, which included an 8-0 campaign inside of the Big Sky. A native of Chihuahua, Mexico, Baca played the No. 2-5 positions throughout the season, but was most effective at the No. 4 spot in the order, going 9-1. Baca also tandemed with Martinez Gutierrez to post an 18-6 doubles mark, with the duo collecting seven Big Sky victories.
Martinez Gutierrez also posted an 18-6 record on her way to her third straight honorable mention all-conference accolade. The native of Azitapan, Mexico constructed a 7-0 mark inside of conference play, and was a constant at the No. 5 and No. 6 positions for the Hornets, going 8-1 overall at No. 5 singles play and 9-3 at No. 6 singles.
Sacramento State travels to Notre Dame, Ind. to take on the Michigan Wolverines in the first round of NCAA Tournament play. First serve is schedule for 7 a.m. Pacific time on Friday, May 8, with live stats available on Notre Dame’s webpage, www.und.com.