UC Davis has been challenged by a grueling schedule all season.
Unfortunately for the Aggies their record is indicative of that competition.
The good news is that UC Davis (3-7) earned its first Big West conference win during the weekend’s doubleheader.
After a four-hour weather delay Saturday morning, the Aggies began competition by losing 7-0 to a formidable Long Beach State squad.
They responded by crushing UC Riverside 6-1, improving their conference record to 1-3.
“It’s great to get a win over a conference team,” said coach Bill Maze. “Our upcoming schedule is less daunting. I think it’s a sign of things to come.”
During the matchup with the 49ers, the Aggies were handled in singles play as the best finish was Dahra Zamudio’s 7-5, 7-5 loss at No. 2.
UC Davis’ leader in singles wins, Sidney Brady, was unable to play in the two games due an illness. Coach Maze elected to start Shawdee Rouhafza in her place.
The Walnut Creek, Calif. local experienced mixed results in her weekend debut as she ended up losing in singles play against her 49ers opponent, 6-0, 6-1.
Desiree Stone was a step slower due to an unforeseen injury resulting in a 6-2, 6-3 loss.
“I think Long Beach is the toughest team in the conference,” Maze said. “Their skill has a lot to with it and they were as good as ever.”
Stone’s injury prevented her from playing in doubles so newcomer Rouhafza filled in with Herzyl Legaspi at No. 3. The unfamiliar pair ended up losing 8-3.
“Because of Stone’s injury, we took her out of doubles,” Maze said. “I wanted to save her for Sunday.”
The decision paid off as Stone defeated her Highlanders’ opponent in singles play, 6-4, 6-3.
Lauren Curry, who is second in singles wins for the Aggies, earned another victory against UC Riverside with a 6-0 sweep in two sets.
Ellie Edles made things interesting against her UC Riverside opponent in singles. After losing the first set, Edles rallied in the final set and won 3-6, 6-2, 6-1.
Rouhafza, meanwhile, picked up her first singles win of the season when she defeated Roxanne Plata 6-3, 7-6.
“[Rouhafza] filled in beautifully,” he said. “She played such a strong opponent on Saturday that I think she was more prepared Sunday. It’s not easy to fill in, but she did a great job in an important match”
The only loss in singles play came from Legaspi’s matchup at No. 3. She fought her way to a final set but couldn’t close it out as she lost in the final set 6-7, 7-5, 1-0 (10-6).
The Aggies had little trouble in doubles play against UC Riverside and won two of their three matches.
The one they dropped was at No. 3 when Lauren Curry and Noelle Eades were defeated 8-6.
Stone returned to her usual doubles position, teaming with Legaspi to beat the Highlanders team 8-2.
“When you play a team you know will battle, you have to win the close matches,” Maze said. “Fortunately, it didn’t come down to one last close one.”
With eight of their last 10 matches at home, including three out of four conference matchups, the Aggies have a chance to gain substantial ground before the Big West Tournament.
The road begins today against San Jose State, a non-conference team that UC Davis swept in last year’s play 7-0.
Stone, Zamudio and Legaspi were all big parts of the win last season and will look to repeat the feat to earn the Aggies their second winning streak of the year.
MARCOS RODRIGUEZ can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.