With only one week left to play before the Big West Tournament, the UC Davis women’s tennis team needed to prove that it belonged in the conversation with the conference’s best.
The Aggies (11-10, 2-6) came up short of meeting that goal, losing at home to conference heavy hitters Cal Poly (13-7, 6-1) and Long Beach State (14-6, 8-0), 6-1 and 5-2, respectively.
“We knew it would be tough against the No. 1 and No. 3 teams in the conference this weekend,” said coach Bill Maze. “Overall, I thought we played well.“
Friday – Cal Poly 6, UC Davis 1
In the Aggies‘ first match of the weekend, there was no answer for the outstanding play of the Mustangs.
After sweeping doubles, Cal Poly won five singles matches in a row to secure the victory.
The lone point for UC Davis came from the No. 6 singles position, as senior Jessica Harris muscled out Shannon Brady to claim the 6-3, 7-5 win.
Harris, a psychology major from Pasadena, Calif., has been on a tear of late, posting a 7-1 record since Feb. 20.
Saturday – Long Beach State 5, UC Davis 2
Looking past the scoreboard, the Aggies held their own against one of the best teams on the West Coast on Saturday.
“To win two matches at No. 2 and No. 3 against Long Beach – I mean, that’s darn good,” Maze said. “This is a team that has dominated our conference over the past three-to-four years.“
UC Davis is now one of four teams in the conference to post two wins against the 49ers this season. No other team has come closer to beating Long Beach State.
The Aggies earning victories this match were freshman Dahra Zamudio (No. 2) and junior Desiree Stone (No. 3).
Zamudio made quick work of Rachel Manasse to earn a 6-1, 6-2 win. Stone outlasted Deborah Armstrong in straight sets to prevail 6-4, 7-5.
Sunday – UC Davis 6, Montana 1
Despite a pair of tough losses to conference foes on Friday and Saturday, the Aggies came out to play Sunday against the Grizzlies.
Jumping out to an early 1-0 lead by sweeping doubles play, UC Davis built on its advantage by winning the next three matches in a row.
Harris was the first to check in with her 6-1, 6-0 victory at No. 6. Zamudio followed with a 6-3, 6-0 win against Rebecca Bran. Herzyl Legasapi at No. 4 was the third to clock in with her 7-5, 6-0 win, sealing the victory for the Aggies at 4-0.
UC Davis closes out its regular season against rival Sacramento State on Friday at 2 p.m. The Aggies will then compete in the Big West Tournament beginning Apr. 16.
“Heading into the tournament, we’ll play like we have nothing to lose,” Maze said. “All I can ask for is great effort and great attitude. That gives us the best chance to win.“
MATT MILLER can be reached at email@example.com.