It took the start of a seven-game homestand to do it, but UC Davis has done something they have not been able to do all season.
The Aggies have earned a three-game winning streak.
UC Davis (5-7) swept their San Jose State and Portland State opponents, 7-0 and 6-0, respectively. Although these teams may not be considered the cream of the crop, coach Maze is relieved to have some easier competition after a slow start.
“We’re playing well and the team is clearly not down from a tough schedule,” Maze said. “We like the winning streak. Hopefully we can continue it.”
The Aggies disposed of the Spartans with strong doubles play on Thursday, a part of the game that has caused them inconsistency.
Herzyl Legaspi and Desiree Stone took care of their opponents 8-4 even with Stone nursing a frustrating injury. Ellie Edles and Dahra Zamudio finished at No. 2 with an 8-3 victory. Lauren Curry and Noelle Eades rounded out play with an identical 8-3 win to sweep all doubles matches.
Due to a still ailing Sidney Brady, intriguing performances from Shawdee Rouhafza are becoming one of the recent constants in singles play. The Walnut Creek, Calif. native beat her San Jose State opponent 6-4, 6-0. She followed up Friday with a 6-0, 6-1 win over her opponent from Portland State.
“She hadn’t gotten much playing time before these matches, but she’s a competitor,” Maze said. “We’re very impressed how she has stepped in.”
Despite Stone’s nagging injury, she gutted out a victory in the final set but was unable to play on Friday against Portland State.
With two of their top singles players inactive on Friday, Maze had to move all his players up one spot in the rotation. It could not have gone any smoother for the Aggies. UC Davis defeated Portland State for third time in as many years.
Maze was particularly pleased that Eades continued to be effective. The sophomore from Walnut Creek, Calif. earned a singles win after she swept all 12 games.
Zamudio has continued to play inspired tennis since taking over for Stone at No. 1. She beat her Vikings opponent 6-2, 6-1.
The Aggies, meanwhile, did not have to worry about doubles play against Portland State because weather conditions postponed a morning match until late Friday night.
Maze’s strong-minded squad has allowed him to make last minute adjustments without them losing a beat in recent play.
“We’re happy our team can step in a play any position,” Maze said.
The Aggies are fortunate to not have a match for another couple weeks. The team can now focus on resting their fatigued players, but more importantly, two of their ailing stars.
“We’ve had an injury problem,” Maze said. “The break comes at a good time.”
UC Davis has five wins, but is just 1-3 in the Big West Conference. In the midst of their longest winning streak of the year, Maze feels the best way to instill self-belief is to build off this success.
“Winning breeds confidence and confidence breeds winning,” Maze said. “We like that formula.”
MARCOS RODRIGUEZ can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.