MEN’S TENNIS BEGINS BIG SKY TOURNAMENT PLAY ON THURSDAY VS. MONTANA STATE

MEN’S TENNIS BEGINS BIG SKY TOURNAMENT PLAY ON THURSDAY VS. MONTANA STATE

After completing a regular season in which it finished 12-11 overall and 8-3 in league, the Sacramento State men's tennis team will begin Big Sky Conference Tournament play on Thursday as the No. 3 seed at the single elimination event.

The tournament, which is being held at the Phoenix Tennis Center in Phoenix, Ariz. from April 27-29, features the top six teams from the 12-member conference. The quarterfinals take place on Thursday, the semifinals are on Friday and the championship match will be on Saturday.

By virtue of finishing third in the conference with an 8-3 league record, Sacramento State secured the No. 3 seed and will take on No. 6 seed Montana State (7-14, 6-5) in the quarterfinal round on Thursday at 10 a.m. In the teams' only meeting during the regular season, the Hornets defeated the Bobcats in Bozeman on April 8 by a 5-2 score.

The other quarterfinal matchup featuring No. 4 Montana and No. 5 Idaho State will begin on Thursday at 11:30 a.m. The semifinals begin on Friday at 10 a.m. with No. 1 seed Northern Arizona taking on the lowest remaining seed, and No. 2 Idaho facing the highest remaining seed at 11:30 a.m. Both Northern Arizona and Idaho received byes in the quarterfinals by virtue of finishing as the top two seeds. The winners of the two semifinal matches will face each other for the championship on Saturday at 10 a.m.

The winner of the Big Sky Tournament receives an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament, a place the Hornets haven't been since 2013. The Hornets will also look to qualify for their first Big Sky Tournament championship match since 2013. Last season, Sacramento State fell to eventual champion Weber State (4-1) in the semifinals at the Gold River Racquet Club.

The Hornets enter the tournament as one of the league's hottest teams, having won five of their final six regular season matches. That included a convincing 6-1 home victory over Northern Arizona on April 2. That remains the only conference loss the Lumberjacks suffered all year. Against the other five teams at the tournament, Sacramento State is 1-0 against Northern Arizona (W, 6-1), Idaho State (W, 6-1) and Montana State (W, 5-2), and 0-1 vs. both Idaho (L, 5-2) and Montana (L, 5-2). Both losses came on the road.

Sacramento State's top four singles players have been fairly consistent this year and will remain the same for the tournament, featuring Mikus Losbergs (15-7 overall, 8-3 in league) at No. 1, Dom Miller (10-11, 6-5) at No. 2, Kasparas Zemaitelis (13-10, 9-2) at No. 3 and Louis Chabut (9-13, 6-5) at No. 4. Christopher Clayton (11-9, 8-2) will play at No. 5 during the tournament, and Hermont Legaspi (9-7, 7-3) will get the call at No. 6. That singles lineup features zero seniors, two juniors (Zemaitelis, Clayton), two sophomores (Losbergs, Miller) and a pair of freshmen (Chabut, Legaspi).

Sacramento State's doubles teams combined to go 19-13 during Big Sky play, including a 5-1 mark from Losbergs/Zemaitelis at No. 1. Sacramento State will play Chabut and Donald Hall at No. 2 (1-1 in league) and Clayton and Miller at No. 3 (1-2 in league).

The Hornets have won 11 Big Sky Tournament championships with each of those titles coming over the last 19 years (1998-99, 2001-03, 2007, 2009-13). They also have 10 NCAA Tournament appearances, which includes every year mentioned above except 1998.

SACRAMENTO STATE LINEUPS FOR THE TOURNAMENT

SINGLES
1. Mikus Losbergs, So.
2. Dom Miller, So.
3. Kasparas Zemaitelis, Jr.
4. Louis Chabut, Fr.
5. Christopher Clayton, Jr.
6. Hermont Legaspi, Fr.

DOUBLES
1. Losbergs/Zemaitelis
2. Chabut/Donald Hall
3. Clayton/Miller

TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE

Thursday - Quarterfinals
No. 3 Sacramento State vs. No. 6 Montana State — 10 a.m.
No. 4 Montana vs. No. 5 Idaho State — 11:30 a.m.

Friday - Semifinals
No. 1 Northern Arizona vs. Lowest Remaining Seed — 10 a.m.
No. 2 Idaho vs. Highest Remaining Seed — 11:30 a.m.

Saturday - Championship
Winner of Semifinal 1 vs. Winner of Semifinal 2 — 10 a.m.