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Men’s tennis team fails to make postseason after crucial losses

Sacramento+State+junior+Dominic+Miller+returns+the+ball+back+to+his+teammate+at+the+Sacramento+State+Courts+on+Wednesday%2C+April+18%2C+2018.+The+Hornets+failed+to+qualify+for+the+Big+Sky+Conference+Tournament+starting+on+Thursday+after+two+straight+losses+over+the+weekend.
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Men’s tennis team fails to make postseason after crucial losses

Sacramento State junior Dominic Miller returns the ball back to his teammate at the Sacramento State Courts on Wednesday, April 18, 2018. The Hornets failed to qualify for the Big Sky Conference Tournament starting on Thursday after two straight losses over the weekend.

Sacramento State junior Dominic Miller returns the ball back to his teammate at the Sacramento State Courts on Wednesday, April 18, 2018. The Hornets failed to qualify for the Big Sky Conference Tournament starting on Thursday after two straight losses over the weekend.

Eric Jaramishian - The State Hornet

Sacramento State junior Dominic Miller returns the ball back to his teammate at the Sacramento State Courts on Wednesday, April 18, 2018. The Hornets failed to qualify for the Big Sky Conference Tournament starting on Thursday after two straight losses over the weekend.

Eric Jaramishian - The State Hornet

Eric Jaramishian - The State Hornet

Sacramento State junior Dominic Miller returns the ball back to his teammate at the Sacramento State Courts on Wednesday, April 18, 2018. The Hornets failed to qualify for the Big Sky Conference Tournament starting on Thursday after two straight losses over the weekend.

Eric Jaramishian

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Following losses against Southern Utah University and Northern Arizona University this past weekend, the Sacramento State men’s tennis team will not be competing in the Big Sky Conference Tournament on Thursday.

The Hornets (7-14, 5-6 Big Sky) entered their two-game road trip needing only one win to qualify for the conference tournament, but suffered a 5-2 loss on Friday and a 7-0 blowout on Saturday.

These losses dropped Sac State from a fifth-place spot in the conference standings to seventh in the Big Sky, which only allows the top six teams into the postseason.

Failure to capitalize in close matches seemed to hold the Hornets back in the beginning of the season, which continued on into their performances in conference play.

RELATED: Men’s tennis team struggles under first-year head coach

Sac State No. 1 junior Mikus Losbergs, who finished with a 7-14 singles record this year, described the close defeats as “bad for our confidence” to begin the season.

“I don’t want to be arrogant or rude, but I feel like I am the best player on our team,” Losbergs told The State Hornet on March 12. “I just lost my confidence while playing. I go out there (and) I kind of know I am going to lose.

“I kind of play more safe, which at No. 1, is tough because the other guy will go out and kill you.”

The team also dealt with three injuries at the beginning of the year with Losbergs suffering an ankle injury, junior Dominic Miller hurting his bicep and Kasparas Zemaitelis working through an elbow injury, which took over a month to recover from.

“I had a pretty rough season,” Miller said. “I was doing a lot better in the same position last year.”

RELATED: Sac State tennis program placed on 3-year probation following NCAA violations

Despite this start, Sac State did manage to go 4-1 from March 25 to April 11, which allowed the team to compete for a spot in the Big Sky Tournament.

This stretch includes wins against Montana State (7-0), Portland State (5-2), Idaho State (5-2), UC Davis (4-3) and a 4-3 loss to Weber State.

“We still had some tough losses against Montana (4-3) and Weber State, but it just shows how close it is and pretty much each match we lose its like 4-3, unless we are playing really, really good teams,” said Losbergs referring to the 4-3 losses against Montana on March 23 and Weber State on April 7.

According to Sac State coach Kevin Kurtz, the team had its chances to finish off opponents such as Montana and Weber State, but for now it must look forward to facing them again next year.

“We are not scared of anybody, and we are moving forward,” Kurtz said.

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