Both the men’s and women’s tennis teams travel to Pacific University this weekend to play on Jan 25. The women’s team also plays at Stanford on Jan 24. This will be an excellent test of both teams as they face top-tier competition.
The men are coming off a 3-4 loss to Santa Clara in which sophomore Brett Bacharach, freshmen Alec Adamson and James Wade all won singles matches, but the doubles match proved to be the pivotal point in the matchup. The Aggies lost in doubles and with that, the match as well. It was a positive showing for the Aggies though, as Santa Clara is ranked 73rd nationally and is a formidable opponent, as are the upcoming opponents, Pacific.
“They are both good tests in preparation for conference,” said head coach Eric Steidlmayer. “We will get back to work, improve and be more than ready for Pacific on Saturday.”
Pacific is ranked a top 75 team nationally on the men’s side, so it will be another difficult day for the men on Jan. 25. They will need to produce their best tennis to pull out a win.
The weekend of games also marks the first action for the women’s team this spring, playing on back to back days against Stanford and Pacific. The team has returned ready to make an impact as well.
“We have a great strength and conditioning coach who ran a great program over the break to [help the players] stay fit,” said head coach Bill Maze.
The prospect of playing on back-to-back days didn’t bother coach Maze either.
“Two days in a row is not bad,” coach Maze said. “For the conference tournament you have to play three days in a row, or even four.”
The team’s outlook figures to be quite positive, and in a competitive conference, the goal is to be seeded third or higher for the conference tournament in April.
“We’re strong in singles, but need to get better in doubles,” coach Maze said. “The doubles point is very important.”
The result from the men’s side this past weekend certainly proves coach Maze’s assertion, but Maze remains optimistic about the team and their goals.
“Chemistry [on the team] is pretty darn good,” Maze said. “The team really supports each other, and that helps in tight matches.”
There is certainly a wide array of talent with this Aggie team, starting with star senior Megan Heneghan who will likely play at the No. 1 position in both matchups this weekend. She has been at the No.1 spot for most of all four of her years at UC Davis, and this weekend figures to be no different. Junior Layla Sanders will probably take the No. 2 spot.
“We’ll figure out the lineup this week,” said coach Maze. “Tiffany Pham, our No. 7 [player] last year, is a heck of a player and we’re looking forward to seeing how she does. We like those fall tournaments to help see how we compete, and how to fit the lineup.”
The women’s team played three fall tournaments in preparation for this spring season. The ultimate goal at the end of the season is a spot in the NCAA tournament, whether through a conference championship, or gaining entrance through superior ranking. Both paths are difficult, but this women’s team looks to be up for the challenge.
— Vic Anderson