They may not look like much on paper, but the Sacramento State Hornets have been giving the Aggies problems for the past several years.
Last Friday was yet another example of this frustrating trend, as the Hornets disposed of the Aggies, 6-1.
“I thought we played competitive tennis,” said coach Bill Maze. “They are tough to beat.”
The Aggies’ (1-4) only win came in the final singles match between junior Sidney Brady and Milica Zivanovic. After winning a close first set 7-6, Brady defeated her Hornets opponent 6-1 to take the match in the second set.
Maze said the Granite Bay, Calif. native has shown steady improvement since the Aggies faced San Francisco on Feb. 5.
“Brady is playing real well right now,” he said. “She’s hitting the ball cleanly and competing well.”
Despite losing to No. 59 Sacramento State (4-2), Maze believed the outcome was a little surprising.
“I thought we would have gotten a couple more wins,” Maze said. “They were just too good that day.”
It didn’t bode well for the Aggies in singles play early on as the first match had Desiree Stone slated against No. 26 Katrina Zheltova. Although Stone had a hard-fought effort, Zheltova won 6-3, 7-6.
Dahra Zamudio was the only Aggie to go in the final set of her singles play. She ended up losing to Tatsiana Kapshai 3-6, 6-2, 6-0.
“I didn’t see some of the match,” Maze said. “There were some close ones in the third, but when you don’t win the close matches, it’s hard to win [as a team].”
The doubles teams had a rough day as well as they were swept in all three matches.
The pair of Herzyl Legaspi and Stone was the Aggies’ best doubles team on Friday, but they still couldn’t take the match from Hornets Clarisse Baca and Zheltova. They finished with an 8-5 loss. Rebecca Delgado and Kapshai beat Lauren Curry and Ellie Edles 8-2 in the No. 2 match.
The final match came against Gayane Sarkisian and Aileen Tsan. The duo clinched the Sacramento State victory with a win over Noelle Eades and Zamudio, 8-1.
Maze was satisfied with his team’s overall performance but felt the doubles teams took a step back after sweeping San Francisco.
While there have been some early setbacks, UC Davis has played the kind of tennis Maze believes can be beneficial in upcoming Big West Conference events. While nothing shows up in the win column, the he says their high-ranked matchups will pay huge dividends if they maintain a good attitude.
They first conference matchup is less than two weeks away when UC Davis faces UC San Barbara. Until then, Maze wants his team to continue gaining valuable experience against these nationally-ranked opponents.
“All of these matches are getting us ready for the Big West,” Maze said. “It’s been good preparation.”
Before jumping into league action, the Aggies look to regroup when they head back home for a matchup with UC San Diego on Sunday.
MARCOS RODRIGUEZ can be reached at email@example.com.