WOMENâ€™S TENNIS FALLS TO ARIZONA STATE IN FIRST ROUND OF THE NCAA TOURNAMENT
FRESNO, Calif. — The Sacramento State women’s tennis season came to an end with a 4-0 loss to 21st-ranked Arizona State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament Friday afternoon at the Spalding G. Wathen Tennis Center.
With the victory, Arizona State (15-7) will face the winner of the Fresno State/Lamar match in the second round tomorrow at 1 p.m.
With the loss, Sacramento State, which is ranked 53rd in the nation, finishes the season with a 21-7 record. Sacramento State received an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament for the seventh straight season after winning the Big Sky Conference regular season and tournament championships. This year marked the team’s fourth 20-win season in program history.
Arizona State jumped out to a 1-0 lead by winning the doubles. At No. 1 doubles, the Sun Devils’ tandem of Nadia and Laila Abdala defeated Katrina Zheltova/Melissa Valenzuela, 8-2. At No. 2, the Hornets’ tandem of Karina Jarlkaganova and Luba Schifris lost, 8-3. The No. 3 match was stopped because Arizona State had already wrapped up a doubles point with the Hornets’ Anastassia Lyssenko and Aileen Tsan trailing, 6-5.
In singles play, Kelcy McKenna, who is ranked 26th in the nation, gave ASU a 2-0 lead after she defeated Anastassia Lyssenko, 6-2, 6-0. At No. 3, the Sun Devils’ Laila Abdala defeated Melissa Valenzuela, 6-3, 6-2, give ASU a 2-0 lead in the match.
The victory for Arizona State was clinched at No. 6 after Ashlee Brown defeated Joyce Martinez Gutierrez, 6-1, 7-5. The remaining three singles matches, which were halted because the victory for Arizona State had been clinched, were all close. Sacramento State’s Katrina Zheltova, who is ranked 34th nationally, was locked in a battle with 23rd-ranked Nadia Abdala. Zheltova lost the first set, 7-5, and trailed in the second set, 6-5.
At No. 4 singles, the Hornets’ Luba Schifris and Jessica Leitch split the first two sets before Leitch took a 3-1 lead in the third set. At No. 5 singles, Sacramento State’s Karina Jarlkaganova was trailing Wendy Pilecka, 4-6, 5-3.
Although the Hornets’ season comes to an end, Sacramento State won its seventh-consecutive Big Sky Conference championship despite a roster that featured zero seniors. Zheltova, only a sophomore, was named the Big Sky’s MVP for the second straight year. The Hornets have not lost a Big Sky match since the 2002 season, a span of 52 consecutive victories over conference opposition.
Sacramento State has a combined 134-43 overall record since 2002 and has posted at least 14 victories in each of those seasons.
No. 21 Arizona State 4
No. 53 Sacramento State 0
1. N. Abdula/L. Abdula (ASU) def. Zheltova/Valenzuela (SAC), 8-2
2. Pelicka/Leitch (ASU) def. Jarlkaganova/Schifris (SAC), 8-3
3. McKenna/Megale (ASU) led Lyssenko/Tsan (SAC), 6-5
1. #23 Nadia Abdala (ASU) led #34 Katrina Zheltova (SAC), 7-5, 6-5
2. #26 Kelcy McKenna (ASU) def. Anastassia Lyssenko (SAC), 6-2, 6-0
3. Laila Abdala (ASU) def. Melissa Valenzuela (SAC), 6-3, 6-2
4. Jessica Leitch (ASU) led Luba Schifris (SAC), 3-6, 6-3, 3-1
5. Wendy Pilecka (ASU) led Karina Jarlkaganova (SAC), 6-4, 3-5
6. Ashlee Brown (ASU) def. Joyce Martinez Gutierrez (SAC), 6-1, 7-5