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Davis, California

Saturday, November 27, 2021

Column: It’s not you, it’s me

I’ve always enjoyed sports.

I also consider myself to be somewhat athletic (that is, kind of good at a bunch of sports, but not really good at any specific one).

Upon the realization I probably wasn’t going to play sports at a high level anymore (actually, I later played one year of club volleyball for UC Davis), I decided that writing about sports would allow me to maintain the connection.

When I became sports editor, it was only natural for me to live vicariously through successful sports teams on campus by writing about them.

That was apparent when I wrote about the women’s volleyball team after it upset No. 23 UC Irvine to move into first place in the Big West Conference standings.

But then what, you say?

The Aggies went on to lose three of their next four matches to eventually finish in second place.

What about the football team?

Two weeks after I raved about the team’s defense in a 45-14 blowout homecoming win, the Aggies gave up seven touchdowns in a Great West Conference loss.

And women’s basketball?

In the week following my praise of the Aggies’ tough win over UC Riverside, the team lost two of three – including one to a last-place team.

For those athletes out there and anybody else thinking I’m having a negative effect on the winning ways of these teams, you’re right.

It’s my fault these unfortunate occurrences randomly happened in the weeks following a column.

I think I’m a jinx.

Yes, I said it. It’s inevitable that the week after I write about a team that’s playing well, it will automatically begin to falter.

So you can imagine my apprehension in writing about a surging women’s tennis squad that has won seven straight matches as the season hits its final stretch.

I didn’t want to do it – and for no other reason than I just didn’t want to mess with their mojo.

However, I felt the need to conquer my fears and admit this problem because, well, the women’s tennis team has been streaking (in the sports sense, of course).

“We’re on fire,” said coach Bill Maze. “They’re playing well and with confidence. Winning breeds confidence and confidence breeds winning.”

The Aggies’ mix of a little bit of both has carried them to the seven-match winning streak, two wins of which have come against fellow Big West opponents.

One of the contributors to this recent string of dominant play has been Desiree Stone.

The senior recently was named the Big West Women’s Tennis Athlete of the Week as she swept her singles and doubles matches over that span.

“Desiree is one of the most talented players I’ve coached in my 20 years,” Maze said. “She’s got every shot in the book and has done a good job at holding the No. 1 spot.”

While the Aggies have been winning as of late, what might be overlooked is the manner in which they are defeating their opponents.

During the streak, UC Davis has swept every dual match except two: a 6-1 win over UC Riverside and a recent 4-1 victory against Portland.

The Aggies have also benefitted from hitting a favorable part in their schedule with their last six and two of the next three matches coming at home.

Regardless, Maze thinks his squad would have performed to almost to the same level had the matches not been at home.

“This team’s approach no matter who it plays is going to be full effort and great attitude,” Maze said. “This team is pretty even keeled.”

UC Davis has four more matches remaining this season, three of which will come against Big West teams as it heads into the league tournament.

For the Aggies to continue their recent ways, they’ll need to continue doing what they do best.

“I think we have a shot at continuing this win streak,” Maze said. “[We’ll do it] by paying attention to the same things we’ve been paying attention to all season.”

MAX ROSENBLUM thinks that after admitting his jinx, the women’s tennis team should be safe. To find out if the hex has been lifted, contact him at sports@theaggie.org.

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