Ranked duo finds way into main draw at championship

Alyssa Huskinson

No. 43-ranked Tatsiana Kapshai and Rebeca Delgado on Oct. 7 became the first doubles team to advance to the Intercollegiate Tennis Association/Riviera Women’s All-American Championship main draw in Sacramento State history.

Four women and two men from Sac State were selected by their coaches to play against some of the top Division I players ranked by the ITA. Of those top players representing Sac State were Kapshai, Delgado, Clarisse Baca and Maria Meliuk. Senior Kiryl Harbatsiuk and junior Jason Smith represented for the men’s team.

During the All-American Tennis Championships held on Oct. 2-10, both the men and women’s tennis teams were competing 1,469 miles apart. The women’s tennis team played at the Riviera Tennis Club in Pacific Palisades, while the men’s team was competing at the University of Oklahoma.

“It feels great that we made a record at the All-American Championship,” Kapshai said. “We just went on the court and played our best.”

In round one of the qualifying round, the duo defeated 41st-ranked freshman Keri Frankenberger and sophomore Whitney Wolf from Louisiana State University. Then Delgado and Kapshai defeated junior Michaela Kissell and freshman Dominika Zaprazna, ranked 20th, from Marshall University in round two. With these wins the women advanced to the main draw.

Round one of the main draw was a match against 32nd-ranked University of Wyoming, which Kapshai and Delgado lost to senior Kim van Ginkel and sophomore Simona Synkova.

“They played great,” said head coach Dima Hrynashka. “They lost in the first round of the main draw, but they produced results.”

Kapshai defeated senior Anna Edelman of Binghamton University in round one of pre-qualifying singles. Although she had a successful round one, she later fell in round two to sixth-ranked senior Ecaterina Vasenina from the University of South Florida.

“In round two, I played a really good girl from Florida. Our match ended up being really long,” Kapshai said. “It was a really tough match for me.”

Round one for Delgado in pre-qualifying singles mirrored her teammate Kapshai. Delgado defeated junior Shinann Featherston of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Then in round two, she lost to UCLA freshman Courtney Dolehide.

The second women’s double team, Baca and Meliuk, began in the pre-qualifying round. In round one, the women defeated sophomore Jaklin Alawi and junior Anais Dallara from Long Beach State. The women then defeated senior Khunpak Issara and junior Ali Walters from Pepperdine University in round two.

The third round managed to be a rough one for Baca and Meliuk, as they lost to junior McCall Jones and freshman Pamela Montez of UCLA.

“We had this goal – to make it as far as possible,” Kapshai said.

Last season, all four women’s players earned first team All-Big Sky Conference accolades and Kapshai received the league’s Most Valuable Player award.

“I’ve seen so much improvement already,” Hrynashka said. “Especially with Regional coming up, we will try to play our best game.”

Although, the women were making school history in California, the men were proving to succeed at the ITA/D’Novo Men’s All-American Tennis Championship. Harbatsiuk is a two-time Big Sky MVP and a three-time first team all-conference. He was joined by Smith, who in his first two seasons was named first team all-league.

In round one of the singles qualifying round, 75th-ranked Harbatsiuk defeated junior Steven Williams from Ohio State University. Then in round two, he defeated sophomore Idan Mark from Tulane University.

The first two rounds proved to be victorious for Harbatsiuk, but in round three, he fell to 6th-ranked Nick Meister from UCLA.

“We played alright, we beat some good players,” Harbatsiuk said. “When you lose, you have to practice more.”

His teammate Smith is ranked 88th in the nation and managed to lose in the first round of the singles qualifying round to junior Devin McCarthy of Ohio State. Smith then played in a consolation round where he defeated junior Luka Somen from Virginia Tech.

In the doubles qualifying round Harbatsiuk and Smith defeated junior Zach Hunter and sophomore William Parker of UNC. Progressing to the second round, Harbatsiuk and Smith were defeated by junior Nicholas Andrews and senior Jonathan Dahan from Cal.

The women will conclude their fall season at the Regional Championships Thursday through Sunday at Stanford. If both the men and the women win at the Regional Championships, they will continue to the ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championship at the USTA-Billie Jean King National Tennis Center Nov. 4-7 in Flushing Meadows, N.Y.

The women’s team has won nine consecutive conference championships and the men’s team has won nine Big Sky championships over the past 13 years. Last season, the men’s and women’s teams won the Big Sky championship and advanced to the NCAA Tournament.

“We’re progressing,” Kapshai said. “Hopefully we will get to the finals at Regionals.”

Alyssa Huskinson can be reached at [email protected]