On Friday, history repeated itself.
Unfortunately for the Aggies, this didn’t result in a positive ending. UC Davis lost to UC Santa Barbara 4-0 for the second straight year in the first round of the Big West Conference Tournament.
The Aggies came into the match knowing that it was either win or go home early. The outcome was the latter part and it showed from the beginning of the contest.
The contest was tough from the start. The Aggies quickly lost both the No. 3 match, 8-3, and No. 1 match, 8-1, in doubles.
After the losses, the Aggies’ No. 2 duo of Tyler Lee and Nic Amaroli, who were leading their match, didn’t finish as a result of the Gauchos clinching the point.
“I knew they were going to be a challenge in doubles,” said coach Daryl Lee. “Their teams were very good.”
With the Gauchos up 1-0, the teams entered singles play where UCSB showed just who they really are.
The Gauchos displayed their talent as they won the first three matches, clinching the 4-0 victory without the Aggies being able to claim a single point.
“I give them all the credit,” Lee said. “It just didn’t work out.”
Hunter Lee, Chris Aria and even Toki Sherbakov, who led the team in regular season singles victories, fell in straight sets to the Gauchos.
When UCSB clinched early, Nick Lopez, Tyler Lee and Nic Amaroli were all still battling in their matches. Amaroli’s match, in particular, was rather close and coach Lee wished it could have played out.
“[Amaroli] was hanging in there and fighting hard,” coach Lee said. “That was very respectable.”
Friday’s match also marked the final tennis match for seniors Amaroli as well as Tyler and Hunter Lee.
With those three players moving on and the Aggies season completed, the focus turns to next year.
Coach Lee feels that in order for the team to have more success, he has to reach each player on the team.
“Each player has a unique personality trying to find the right way to help them unlock their potential,” Lee said.
In the semifinals of the tournament, UCSB played Cal Poly while UC Irvine advanced to play Pacific.
UC Irvine beat the No. 2 seed Pacific before handling the No. 1 seed Cal Poly to claim the Big West title.
“It’s not overly surprising,” coach Lee said. “Irvine is a very deep team.”
The Aggies finished the regular season with an 8-12 record before losing in the first round of the tournament.
ZANDER WOLD can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.