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Thursday, September 23, 2021

UC Davis tennis begins play at Conference Tournament

The underdog card is always a good one to play late in the season when the pressure is high. The UC Davis tennis teams will need to play smart, and take advantage of their lower seeds in order to go deep in the Big West Championship tournament.

That isn’t to say they aren’t capable of it. The Aggies will just have to put things together at the right time.

The UC Davis men’s tennis team just recently spent Picnic Day weekend down in Southern California, finishing up its Big West regular season competition.

The Aggies grabbed their first and only win in the conference with a 7-0 sweep over UC Riverside. UC Davis took the doubles point then swept the singles to take down the Highlanders.

The day before their victory over UC Riverside, the Aggies took one of their most impressive wins this season, with a 4-3 victory over Loyola Marymount.

UC Davis took the crucial doubles point, then jumped ahead with two quick singles wins at the five and six slots from seniors Hugo Verdi-Fortin and George Horowitz, respectively.

The Lions came storming back with three straight singles wins of their own at the one, three and four singles spots. The match came down to junior Kyle Miller, playing two singles. Miller won the first set 6-1 before dropping the second 6-3.

The battle for the deciding match raged on to a 6-6 score, where Miller took an 8-6 victory in the third-set tiebreaker to seal the victory by the slimmest of margins.

The Aggies fell in a close match to UC Irvine, the top-seeded team in the conference entering the Big West Championship Tournament. The 4-3 loss was a heartbreaker, but shows glimmers of hope for UC Davis as it enters the playoffs.

UC Davis cycled through the bottom of its singles lineup throughout the year, but seems to have figured out an order that works for the team. The Aggies won two matches in a row and played strong against the Anteaters and should enter the conference tournament with confidence.

The Aggies open up play at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden on April 25 at 8 a.m. against Pacific, the third seed in the conference. If they win, they will play the next day against the winner of Cal Poly and UC Riverside.

UC Davis fell to Pacific by a 5-2 score early in the season, grabbing the doubles point as well as a singles win from Miller.

The UC Davis women’s tennis team also plays on April 25 in an 11 a.m. matchup with 10th-seeded UC Riverside. In their April 6 regular season matchup with the Highlanders, the Aggies emerged 6-1 winners.

The Aggies should proceed on to the second round if all goes well, in which case they would face Long Beach State in the quarterfinals the next day at 8 a.m.

LBSU took down the Aggies 6-1 earlier in the season and currently stands as the 45th-ranked team in the nation and the second-seed in the conference tournament.

Last year, the Aggies took down Pacific in the first round by a 4-0 score then fell to UC Irvine by the same mark. UC Davis will hope to improve on this performance, as it could be some of the last matches for seniors Ellie Edles, Lauren Curry and Zoe Davidson.

UC Davis stands as the seventh-seeded team in the Big West entering the tournament, but have beaten two ranked opponents this year and shouldn’t be counted out of any match.

The Aggies haven’t had impressive results in the past at Indian Wells, but if all the pieces fall in place, they could make a splash in the desert.

MATTHEW YUEN can be reached at sports@theaggie.org.

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