The student news site of Sacramento State University

The State Hornet

Student news without fear or favor
The student news site of Sacramento State University

The State Hornet

The student news site of Sacramento State University

The State Hornet

Student news without fear or favor

First tennis home loss comes from rival’s rackets

Hornets lose against NAU, but defeat Seattle U in dominating fashion
Orlando Fuller
Sophomore Adam Chodur getting ready to return in his singles match against Northern Arizona University freshman Semen Agynskyy on Friday, March 15, 2024. Chodur won his singles match after winning a tiebreak in his second set, but the Hornets would lose the match 4-3.

The Sacramento State men’s tennis team split their two weekend matchups with a loss against conference opponent Northern Arizona University and a dominating win against Seattle University to get back on track.

Both opponents put up a difficult fight for the Hornets during the doubles, but the singles were vastly different. The singles against NAU were gritty performances for most of the matchups, but the singles against Seattle U were all Hornets.

“It’s a win, but I would trade this one for the other one,” Sac State men’s tennis head coach Kevin Kurtz said. “I feel like we learned a lot from the NAU match on what to do under pressure.”

Friday: Sac State: 3, NAU: 4

Sac State fell short of defeating their conference rival Northern Arizona University on Friday after struggling in the doubles and being unable to come back in the singles.

Sophomore Adam Chodur and junior Hayden Rand lost their doubles first and seniors Jiri Novak and Jan Silva lost next. This left seniors Mark Keki and Mate Voros’ match to go unfinished and give NAU the point.

“It’s always tricky with the doubles because one team always starts with one point already before the singles and you see that point is crucial,” senior Rudolfs Aksenoks said. “That point is basically what we needed.”

The Hornets played from behind and needed to win four of their singles matches to win the matchup.
Keki was the first to finish his singles followed by his doubles partner Voros. Keki outclassed NAU senior Dominik Buzonics, but Voros had a difficult time against NAU junior Dani Torres and was blown out.

Silva was the next to finish their matchup. He lost the first set to NAU sophomore Maikel De Boes 6-4 but continued to make the second set a dogfight, unwilling to give up.

Silva was able to come back and make the set 3-2 and immediately started the next game with a rally that ended with a Silva forehand winner.

Silva wasn’t able to continue building on this momentum and fell short of winning the second set and losing again, 6-4.

With Voros and Silva’s losses, NAU needed to win one more of the singles matches to win, but the Hornets would not give up easily.

Sac State was looking good in their final three matchups. Chodur, Novak and Aksenoks were all leading in their matchups with each winning a set.

Chodur went in a lull in the second set and allowed NAU freshman Semen Agynskyy to come back and take the lead 6-5.

“The guy didn’t really have a serve or anything,” Chodur said. “He was just a grinder, so I just knew that if I kind of focused and played like two good points in a row, I could break him.”

Chodur was able to save the set and head into a tiebreak, which meant they were playing for points instead of games to determine the set. The first team to seven points wins.

Chodur changed his strategy heading into the tiebreaker. Noticing that he did a lot of running in the second set, Chodur wanted his opponent to play his game instead.

“I knew I just had to keep playing my game, just put pressure on the other side and if he comes up with a passing shot then so be it,” Chodur said.

Chodur would win the tiebreak, which would secure him both the set and the match.

With Chodur’s win, the fate of the match would depend on Aksenoks and Novak to both win their matches.

Novak gave a solid performance in the first set and it seemed like all the momentum was in his favor.

The first set ended with a rally that NAU senior Maciej Ziomber overshot and landed out of bounds.

Aksenoks had a solid performance in his first set, but fell short 6-3, even with the pressure that he had felt from losing his doubles match.

“I definitely feel some pressure when I have to go and play my singles, which is more my specialty, so I have to bring that win for the boys,” Aksenoks said.

Novak and Aksenoks’ performances in the second set started off strong but struggled later.

“We’re in the dream position,” Kurtz said about Novak’s performance. “We won the first set 6-3 and up 5-2, just played a little differently at that point and didn’t play as aggressively.”

Novak dropped his second set, but Akesenoks won his and they both moved on to the deciding third set. Akesenoks was able to finish his third set with a win, but Novak could not do the same, giving NAU the 4-3 match win.

“We were saying that the feeling that they have right now, they gotta push themselves harder in practice the next couple of weeks and get ready for all their conference matches,” Kurtz said.

RELATED: Sac State men’s tennis stays golden at home

Senior Mark Keki returning at the end of his singles match against Seattle University redshirt junior Jun Sasagawa on Sunday, March 17, 2024. Keki won his doubles and singles and secured the win for the Hornets 4-0. (Brionna Woody)

Sunday: Sac State: 4, Seattle U: 0

Sac State flushed the loss against a conference rival with a dominant win on Sunday against Seattle University.

Sac State won the doubles with Keki and Voros winning their match first, Chodur and Rand lost their match but Novak and Silva won giving the Hornets the point.

Voros and Keki looked to have complete control of their doubles and ended 6-1. The two partners demonstrated complete control of the match and even had fun with the occasional hiccups that occurred during a match.

“We’ve been playing together for the past eight years now, we’re close friends. We won so many things together.” Keki said about his doubles partner Voros.

One of those hiccups occurred when Voros accidentally batted the ball too hard and sent it flying well over the 10-foot tall fence and responded with a scream immediately as he swung.

“I’m extremely happy he came to Sac State with me,” Keki said. “To have that chemistry on the court and off the court, it makes doubles much easier.”

The Hornets had full control of the singles matches as well, all won their first set of the singles and were winning the second set.

Chodur and Silva both finished almost at the same time and Keki finished shortly after.

After a hard-fought doubles match, Silva put on a clinic against Seattle U junior Veselin Kiselkov, winning the first set with a 6-0 bagel and the second 6-2.

Kiselkov lobbed one so high in the air that it gave Silva time to do a slight jog and then slam the ball to the opposite side of the court leaving Kiselkov unable to react.

“I was serving and my mind started wandering a little bit just because that first set looked really easy, but he was still making me play a lot,” Silva said.

Silva said his loss of focus often comes from him rushing and wanting to just finish. That problem might come from his teammate, Chodur, who played next to him.

“Sometimes I take a look at him and I try to see what he’s doing,” Silva said. “I’m like you know, that guy looks like he’s doing the right thing, so I try to just copy him.”

Even though Silva had to stop copying Chodur, Silva finished his match a second after Chodur finished.

With this, the Hornets were at 3-0 and they only needed to win one more match from the remaining four to win the dual.

After Keki’s dominating performance in the doubles, the start of his singles was a bit shaky.
Keki led Seattle U redshirt junior Jun Sasagawa, 2-1, but Sasagawa gained momentum and took the lead 4-2.

Keki heard a lot of screaming coming from Sasagawa, but over time, the screaming would stop when he played his game.

“I just had to stay consistent, especially mentally,” Keki said. “These games happen, if we’re 2-4, 3-5, all good, we have all day out here, we’re in no rush. I feel like I have the capability to come back in these matches.”

Keki did just what he said was capable of doing and came back from a 2-4 deficit to win the set 6-4.

“Playing these matches, I feel like it’s tougher for me,” Keki said. “The opponent is trying to get me as hard as they can, all the screams, all this stuff you might see. I’m a little bit calmer, I’m not used to screaming.”

After the first set, it was all Keki. There wasn’t much more screaming coming from Keki’s match, just the sound of the ball going back-and-forth between rackets and the claps and applause from Sac State fans watching.

“I felt his energy was way lower, mine was higher,” Keki said. “That’s usually how I like to play those matches, just finish these matches and run through these guys.”

Keki won the second set 6-1 and secured the win for the Hornets.

Freshman Michael Kaplan, Aksenoks and Voros did not finish their matches. They all won their first set, but Voros was the only one winning his second set.

“I’m glad that we were able to get a quick win here and then hopefully take that rhythm and just keep moving on and just keep stacking matches up,” Silva said.

Donate to The State Hornet
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists of Sacramento State University. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Ryan Lorenz
Ryan Lorenz, Sports Staffer
(he/him) Ryan Lorenz is in his second semester at The State Hornet. He is a former Sports Editor for Cosumnes River College's publication, The Connection. He has a strong passion for sports and plans on having a career in sports media.
Donate to The State Hornet
Our Goal