The Sacramento State men’s tennis team came from behind to defeat Weber State 4-3 in its last regular-season conference match Saturday afternoon at the Rio Del Oro Racquet Club.
During the semifinals of the Big Sky Tournament last season, the Weber State Wildcats defeated the Hornets 4-1. They continued on to win the Big Sky Championship, but have lost three seniors and replaced them with freshmen since then.
“They were a very strong team — they still are,” sophomore Mikus Losbergs said. “But it’s always tough to have to play with three freshmen on the team.”
Sac State’s No. 2 doubles team of sophomore Donald Hall and freshman Louis Chabut began the day defeating Wildcats’ Kris Van Wyk and Michiel Van Schoor (6-2). This would result in the Hornets’ only doubles victory.
The No. 1 doubles tandem of Losbergs and junior Kasparas Zemaitelis then fell to Weber State’s Shao-Po Yin and Stefan Cooper. Zemaitelis struggled to keep his momentum up during the match as he was recovering from the flu.
Junior Christopher Clayton and sophomore Dom Miller were unable to win the doubles point against Wildcats’ Hou-En Chen and Cezary Walkusz at the No. 3 spot (7-5).
The match was also senior day for Sac State’s Clayton. The coaches recognized the team captain following the doubles matches.
“I told the guys, we play today not just for the team, but for our senior guy Chris Clayton,” Sac State coach Slava Konikov said. “Chris played his best match in four years. I’ve never seen that before — he was a monster today.”
Clayton swept his opponent, Van Schoor, in singles in two sets (6-2, 6-1) at the No. 5 spot. Freshman Hermont Legaspi followed with a victory over Walkusz during the No. 6 singles match (6-3, 6-4).
Losbergs struggled to keep the ball out of the alley during his No. 1 singles match against Weber’s Yin. The match went to three sets, ending with Losberg crushing two serves in a row to clinch the victory (7-6, 7-1, 6-4).
The final three singles matches all proceeded to three sets, with Chabut losing to Chen (6-2, 0-6, 6-4) at the No. 4 spot and Zemaitelis besting Van Wyk (7-6, 7-2, 6-4). Miller ended the day for Sac State with a loss (7-5, 7-6, 9-7) at No. 2 against Cooper, but the Hornets finished with a 4-3 victory overall.
Sac State (12-11, 8-3 Big Sky Conference) will have just under two weeks off before entering the three-day Big Sky Tournament in Phoenix, Arizona from April 28-30.
“The Big Sky is always a really exciting time,” Clayton said. “Of course, you’re a little nervous as well. It’s what you sort of train for the whole year. So it’s great to get there and I hope we can do well.”