Sacramento State’s women’s tennis team kept a decade-long winning tradition going over the weekend, claiming their 11th straight conference title in a two-day sweep of the Big Sky Conference Championship at the Gold River Racquet Club.
The No. 52 Hornets won their 91st consecutive match against Big Sky opponents Saturday when they swept the University of Northern Colorado Bears 4-0 in the semifinals.
“I think it comes from the way we sleep, the way we eat, the way we practice, everything,” said junior Rebeca Delgado. “Together we create a good chemistry because between all of us we have good friendships – I think that makes us a better team.”
Senior Tatsiana Kapshai and junior Rebeca Delgado got the Hornets off to a winning start in the doubles competition with an 8-2 victory at No.1 over Stephanie Catlin and Elizabeth Tapia for the Bears. Seniors Clarisse Baca and Maria Meliuk clinched the doubles point with an 8-2 victory of their own at No. 2.
The Hornets kept rolling by sweeping in singles competition, winning the singles point with only three finished matches.
Baca claimed victory first at No. 3, winning two sets by 6-0 scores. Kapshai gave the Hornets their second singles victory of the day, winning 6-1 in two sets at No. 1. Meliuk sealed the match victory and a spot in the finals with 6-3, 6-2 victories in two sets at No. 5.
“Personally, it is a pretty big accomplishment,” Meliuk said. “It’s really an honor to be apart of this and do it for the school and program.”
The Hornets returned to the Gold River Racquet Club Sunday morning looking for their 92nd consecutive conference victory against the University of Montana Grizzlies en route to 11 straight conference titles.
Sunday’s finals match looked identical to Saturday’s semifinals with the Hornets sweeping the Grizzlies in both the doubles and singles competitions. At No.1 in the doubles, Delgado and Kapshai got the Hornets going once again with another 8-2 victory, followed by Baca and Meliuk’s 8-3 win to claim the doubles point.
The Hornets needed only three complete matches again to wrap up the singles competition and ultimately the Big Sky Conference Championship. Kapshai brought home the first victory in two sets, 6-1, 6-0 at No. 1. Baca drew the Hornets closer with 6-2, 6-1 victories in the No. 3 position.
Meliuk wrapped up the match and the program’s 11th straight conference championship in two sets by 6-1 scores in each. The win gave Sac State a 17-9 overall record on the season and made them 10-0 in conference, as well as securing for Sac State the conference’s automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament.
“Winning the Big Sky is a goal for us every year, but we also have bigger goals – like getting past the first round of the NCAA tournament or being top 20 in the nation,” Baca said. “Those goals haven’t been met and we all still inspired to achieve those bigger goals.”
The first and second rounds of the NCAA Division I Women’s 30th Annual Championship begin May 11-12. They will be hosted by top seeds and played regionally. The finals will be held at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, Ga., on May 16-28. Seeding for the tournament is yet to be determined.
JJ Williams can be reached at [email protected]
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