Opening their 2010 season with two dual meets on Saturday, the Aggies did not get the start they hoped for.
By the end of the day, it didn’t seem to matter as a strong finish highlighted UC Davis’ first weekend of competitive play in over two months.
UC Davis split its doubleheader in Santa Clara, Calif. to open the spring season, first losing to Santa Clara by a 4-0 score and then defeating UC Santa Cruz, 5-1.
“We knew [Santa Clara] was a challenge at the court,” said coach Daryl Lee. “They have great players and their ladder is loaded.”
Santa Clara demonstrated their stacked roster by not allowing a single Aggie to win a match.
Despite facing a tough opponent to open dual play, the Aggies never gave up.
“They fought hard even after the match was decided,” coach Lee said.
As soon as the Santa Clara match was over, UC Davis had to go straight back to the courts to face UC Santa Cruz.
The competition began with doubles play, an area where the Aggies showed their potential.
After the Aggies had won the No. 3 match and the Banana Slugs had won the No. 1 match, senior doubles partners Nic Amaroli and Tyler Lee were still playing in the No. 2 match. The match went into a tiebreaker, which highlighted the day for the Aggies.
The lead in the tiebreaker went back and forth, with Amaroli and Lee saving four match points before finally winning in incredible fashion.
“Both teams were hitting good shots at match points,” coach Lee said. “[Lee and Amaroli] were handling pressure when the match was close.”
Coach Lee, in his 17th season with the Aggies, was in disbelief at how amazing the match was.
“It was the most exciting doubles match I’ve ever witnessed [since coaching] at Davis,” Lee said. “It was like a movie.”
Amaroli and Lee’s doubles victory set the tone for the rest of the team. The Aggies won 4-of-5 singles matches against the Banana Slugs, who are the reigning Division III champions.
Freshman Toki Sherbakov, coming off an injury, was impressive in his match against UC Santa Cruz, winning 2-of-3 sets against Silvo Chiba.
“[Sherbakov] is very competitive on the court,” coach Lee said. “He has no sense of giving up.”
Other Aggies who fared well against the Banana Slugs in singles were Amaroli, sophomore Chris Aria and senior Hunter Lee.
Despite the big difference in results on Saturday, coach Lee thought the Aggies didn’t do anything different in the second match saying his team’s performance level was similar in both.
“When we’re ready to play, we give ourselves a chance to compete hard and well,” Lee said. “There is a competitiveness within the team.”
The season has just begun and the team is hoping they can build on this weekend’s performance.
The Aggies have their first home contest of the year on Friday at 1:30 p.m. as they host Sonoma State.
ZANDER WOLD can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.