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Davis, California

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Aggies lose Big West Tourney opener

The season came to end last Friday and with it went the hopes of claiming the Big West Tournament championship.

What cannot be overstated is Coach Bill Maze’s faith that most of his team can come back stronger next year.

“I’ve never had eight players on my team,” he said. “It was a great group and we had a great year chemistry-wise.  We have good leadership on this team.”

Unfortunately for the Aggies, the chemistry that has become a staple all season abandoned them at the least opportune time, as they were defeated in the quarterfinal of the Big West tourney by UC Santa Barbara 4-1.

“We competed hard,” Maze said. “It would have been an upset, but I liked the matchup. We have to go back to the drawing board.”On the flip side, Maze believes the score was misleading since three Aggie singles players were not allowed to finish.

Dahra Zamudio was the only UC Davis player to record win against the UCSB, as she mowed through 10 of her last 11 singles matches to conclude the year.

The Orange, Calif. local ended her final match of the season with a 6-3, 6-1 win.

“She started off slow like last year, but got better as the year went on,” Maze said. “From a coach’s perspective, that’s nice to see.”

Maze added that if the two canceled singles matches played out, the Aggies would have lost to the Gauchos 4-3. He felt that losing to the No. 2 seed in the Big West tourney by a closer margin would have raised a few more eyebrows.

Although the Aggies fought the tougher opponent admirably, their one Achilles heel has been their doubles play as they will dominate one matchup only to fall in the next. 

UC Davis lost two of three in doubles play and did not finish No. 2 because the UCSB had already earned the victory.

Herzyl Legaspi and Desiree Stone lost the first 8-3. Lauren Curry and Noelle Eades ended their last mach in a 8-0 defeat.

Maze said that even though there had been doubles improvement, they know what needs to be corrected in the offseason. 

“We gave each player a strategy,” he said. “We knew if we’d have won doubles, we’d have won. We don’t have it figured out, but we know what we need to work on.”

Maze said the team will miss the durability Legapsi has shown throughout her tennis career. She ends her playing career without a single missed doubles match in four years.

Stone, meanwhile, was thought by Maze to be the, “most talented player he ever coached.”  

Despite the key losses, the Aggies are aware of their flaws and as the old saying goes, knowing is half the battle.

MARCOS RODRIGUEZ can be reached at sports@theaggie.org.


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