Losses don’t often tell the whole story. Sometimes when a team loses, it can be considered a win.
That seemed to be coach Bill Maze’s reasoning after last Saturday’s 4-3 loss to No. 67 UC Irvine anyways.
“I think it was probably our best match of the year,” Maze said. “It was tough to lose, but we’re peaking for the [Big West] tourney at the right time.”
The Aggies (9-10) tied a 2-1 team deficit at three apiece in Desiree Stone’s last career singles home match on Senior Day. The North Hollywood, Calif. native had to go to a final set before claiming the win 6-1, 2-6, 7-5.
It was the only match to go all three sets, but Maze believes Stone’s resilience came through when her team needed a win.
“[Stone] played a great first set,” Maze said. “She struggled, but held it together. To beat one of the best players in the conference while nursing an injury really says something.”
Despite the Aggies’ effort, the Anteaters (9-10) earned the deciding victory at No. 3 when Herzyl Legaspi, the second of only two seniors, was defeated 6-1, 7-6 (8) in her final home match.
Sidney Brady ended her season in convincing fashion as she earned another victory 6-0, 6-4 and finished in a tie with Dahra Zamudio as the team leaders in singles wins with 12.
Doubles play was intriguing for the UC Davis, but it was unable to win two of three matches to earn the early advantage against UC Irvine.
The only Aggie doubles win came from the Stone and Legaspi team at No. 1. They earned the win with an 8-2 drubbing of the Anteaters.
“They were better at everything,” Maze said. “They volleyed better and returned the ball better. We had more experience at that spot.”
The No. 2 team, Ellie Eadles and Zamudio, had the best chance to come away with a second doubles win, but fell short in an 8-5 loss despite having an early lead.
“The No. 2 doubles team was up 5-4 and were right there,” Maze said. “They were on the verge of getting the win.”
UC Davis’ No. 3 team, Noelle Eades and Lauren Curry, would end doubles competition with an 8-2 defeat at the hands of their UC Irvine opponent.
Maze, meanwhile, said he was a little disappointed that the team fell short of an achievement they aspired to obtain at the start of season.
“It was one of our goals to finish above .500, but I was pleased with the record,” Maze said. “We had strong efforts this season against some tough teams.”
The Aggies finished the year with a 2-6 conference record, but Maze sees this break before the tournament as an ideal time to regroup for the strenuous road ahead.
“I think everyone is really hitting the ball well,” Maze said. “We are right where we want to be.”
MARCOS RODRIGUEZ can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.