Event: ITA Regional Tournament
Where: Palo Alto, Calif.
When: Saturday through Tuesday, all day
Who to watch: Senior Nick Lopez is the experienced leader of the team entering his fourth season with the Aggies. The Orinda, Calif. native is coming off earning second team all Big West Conference in singles and doubles play.
Did you know? Lopez defeated the 20th nationally ranked player at the boy’s 16s Clay Court Super nationals tournament in 2006 and went 8-2 at that tournament.
Preview: The transition to Division I has been difficult for the Aggie men’s tennis team.
UC Davis struggled in Big West play last season, winning just one conference match and being ousted at the conference tournament in the first round.
The ITA Tournament, however, helps paint a picture of the upcoming season and how each team has changed since last year. UC Davis will be matching up against top competition at the ITA Tournament, including California, Stanford and USC.
The Aggies will be sending their top six players to the tournament, including Toki Sherbakov and Connor Coates, in an effort start the season on the right foot.
Coach Daryl Lee will look at this weekend to show how the Aggies have improved during the off-season.
“We are still in the preparation phase,” Lee said. “But we’re looking to compete hard and represent our team in a positive manner.”
Lee hopes the doubles teams will hold their own and each player has a result that will help boost their confidence.
While Lee wants to see good results, he also wants to see the team gain some confidence.
While the outcome of the ITA Tournament is never predetermined, the Aggies will be facing stiff competition.
Although the preseason events like the ITA Tournament and the upcoming Gael Tennis Classic will count for postseason standings, conference play for the Aggies doesn’t start until January.
The time in between the end of the preseason matches and the start of Big West play will give Lee ample time to figure out the lineup for league play.
Lee believes UC Irvine and UC Santa Barbara will be UC Davis’ toughest competition down the road once conference play begins.
– Ron Hooper