Heading into this weekend’s play, the Aggies knew they would be challenged by two of the toughest opponents they would encounter this season.
When play culminated, the Aggies had to be satisfied with the results.
Although the Aggies ended the weekend with a 6-1 loss to Sacramento State on Sunday, they upset No. 71 Pacific, 4-3 the day before.
The win over the Tigers impressed coach Daryl Lee.
“They showed a lot of heart out there,” coach Lee said. “The team fought hard.”
The Pacific contest was full of impressive victories for the Aggies.
Although UC Davis lost two of three doubles matches, junior Nick Lopez and senior Hunter Lee had a solid victory in their match.
Singles play is where the Aggies came alive, though.
In the No. 5 match, senior Tyler Lee defeated Karl-Erik Paaro in only two sets, 6-4 and 6-1.
“Tyler had a good strategy out there,” coach Lee said.
While Tyler Lee’s match was impressive, freshman Toki Sherbakov had a well-deserved victory in the No. 3 match against Fernando Ristow.
The match was so long that toward the end Sherbakov started to cramp up. He was able to fight off the cramps, though, and finish with a victory, with a third-set tiebreaker.
“[Sherbakov] fought through it and didn’t allow the cramping to get in his way,” coach Lee said.
While the No. 3 match was highly contested to the end, the No. 2 was not much different.
One difference, however, was in the opponent.
Sophomore Chris Aria was matched up against native Brazilian and professionally ranked Ivan Garcia-Castro.
The results didn’t change.
Aria claimed victory after Garcia-Castro retired in the third set.
“Chris held his own against [Garcia-Castro],” coach Lee said. “It’s exciting when you have a team that fights hard.”
After UC Davis stunned Pacific, the team traveled to take on Sacramento State in a Causeway Cup battle.
Freshman Connor Coates, one of the Aggies to beat the Tigers, was the only to claim victory against the Hornets.
He won two of three sets against Pacific’s Renan Delsin and then beat Tim Lantin of Sacramento State in straight sets.
“Connor is a match player,” Lee said. “He has a good focus and mental approach for the matches.”
Even though Connor Coates was the only Aggie to win against the Hornets, coach Lee was just as impressed with Nick Lopez’s singles match.
In the No. 1 match, Lopez lost to Anton Stryhas in two sets. Still, his match lasted for almost two hours, the longest of the day.
“On the bright side, the team has a true fighting spirit,” Lee said. “That definitely gives us a chance against most teams.”
On Friday, UC Davis travels to Portland, Ore. where they will face Portland State, Montana State and Portland.
ZANDER WOLD can be reached at email@example.com.