Men’s tennis ready to begin run for back to back Big Sky championships

Satchi Hover

After winning the Big Sky Tournament in 2012, the men’s tennis team at Sacramento State will look to continue their winning ways in 2013. 

Head coach Slava Konikov will be entering his ninth season at the helm. During his time with the Hornets, Konikov has led the team to an overall record of 125-84, including a 59-4 record in the Big Sky Conference.

The team is aiming to make it back to the NCAA Tournament for the fifth straight season. Bill Campbell, Director of Tennis has high hopes for the squad.

“I think we have a good opportunity to be the best team the university has ever had in tennis,” Campbell said. “All the players are back from last season, and they’ve really been working hard all summer.”

Three players to keep an eye out for this season are juniors Marek Marksoo, Alejandro Villarreal and Oliver Anderson.

Marksoo was the standout in 2012 as he posted an individual record of 16-3, finishing the season on a 13 match winning streak. His accomplishments earned him the Big Sky co-MVP.

Assistant coach Kevin Kurtz has been impressed with the team chemistry up to this point.

“Our team has really got good cohesiveness,” Kurtz said. “They help one another out and their goal is to build on an already strong team.”

The Hornets understand the importance of winning home matches and coach Kurtz expects the team will improve upon their 6-4 home record from a season ago. “We have a lot of home matches this season and one of our goals is to win every home match this year.”

The players on the team were busy over the summer working to get better.

“We had a lot of guys who played in summer tournaments and improved their game,” Kurtz said. “We have a couple new guys coming in so hopefully they can get on board and catch up.”

The team will kick off the 2013 campaign with the Campus Showdown at Sacramento State this Sunday.