Sac State men’s tennis suffers 6-1 loss against University of San Francisco

Hornets go winless in singles and drop their season opener


Jordan Latimore

Senior Hermont Legaspi in the middle of a volley during his singles game at the campus tennis courts Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021. The Hornets were defeated by the Dons 6-1 after failing to win any singles matches.

Jordan Latimore

The Sacramento State men’s tennis team suffered a tough 6-1 loss in their home opener against the University of San Francisco on Wednesday. 

The Hornets (0-1, 0-0 Big Sky) got off to a momentous start with an assertive 2-1 doubles victory. However, the Dons (1-0, 0-0 WCC) surged and found their stride in the singles set to put them over the edge.

Sac State opened the gates with a strong performance in the doubles matchup. Despite freshmen Liam Liles and Mark Keki losing a tightly contested doubles set by a score of 7-6, their teammates picked up for them and went on to win consecutive doubles matches.

Freshmen Jan Silva and Rudolfs Aksenoks closed out their doubles with a score of 7-5 and the senior tandem of Hermont Legaspi and Michael Vizcarra secured a win in their doubles game 6-4, which secured Sac State the doubles point and boosted their confidence going into the singles.  

RELATED: International athletes caught between Sac State, home countries

“USF has always been really good in doubles,” head coach Kevin Kurtz said. “After we won the doubles point, (it was) good for our gut.”

Despite coming out on top in the doubles sets, the Hornets could not duplicate that same success in the singles mathcups.

Aksenoks lost his singles matchup in the first two sets by scores of 6-2 and 6-1. Vizcarra also lost his singles match within two sets by the same score of  6-3. 

Liles had a close singles matchup that went to three sets, but ultimately fell to USF junior David Woodland. He opened up the first set with an assertive 6-2 win, but then lost two straight sets by a score of 6-4.

“I have to work on my fitness to be able to keep my level all the time,” Liles said. “In the end I got very tired and he stayed in the rally.”

Despite them both winning their first set, freshmen Jon Silva and Mark Keki dropped their singles matches as well. Silva won his first set 7-6 and Keki won his 6-3, but they both saw their USF opponents win two straight sets. 

Silva suffered his losses with scores of 6-4 and 6-4 and Keki was defeated in sets 5-7 and 6-4. Keki twisted his ankle in the middle of the third set, making the challenge of clinching that match point too difficult to overcome.

Story continues below gallery 

Legaspi played an extremely tight singles match that seemed to go down to the last few points each set. Legaspi won his first set 6-3, but dropped the next two with 7-6 and 7-5, resulting in an 0-6 singles series matchup from Wednesday’s game.

“I made a few bad decisions here and there,” Legaspi said. “We could have been a little bit more aggressive on the returns and made smarter decisions, especially the cross-court.”

Legaspi also said the team’s overall fitness level needed to reach a certain level.

“(Dealing with) fatigue is so important,” Legaspi said. “You have to be committed day-in, day-out.”

Kurtz mentioned that the youth of his team definitely played a role in today’s outcome and will help contribute to the team’s growth.

“We have five new freshmen on the team, so we’re just trying to give them some teachable moments here,” Kurtz said. “I feel like this is a good building step. We’re excited with these guys.”

The Hornets will host Cal Poly in their next game on Friday at 12 p.m. PST.