One year is all it took for last year’s regular season co-champions to improve on their past accomplishments. The UC Davis men’s tennis team has shown flashes of dominance this season, with a record of 13-3, more than earning The Aggie’s choice as Men’s Team of the Quarter.
The team’s success has stemmed from their dedication to improve and work hard, while also bringing back veteran experience.
“The effort of the guys [has made us successful], that’s number one,” said head coach Eric Steidlmayer. “We have everybody back from last year and to be honest, everyone’s gotten a little better.”
Seven of the nine Aggies are upperclassmen and the two others are sophomores. And with age comes more maturity, both mentally and physically.
“Everybody’s a year older, everybody’s been in the system a year longer,” Steidlmayer said. “Talking about physical maturity, stronger physically, but also mentally. [They’re] understanding what we’re trying to get done with training, [and] how to bring a passionate level each day so that our guys are focused a little better.”
Talent and dedication can go a long way, but what sets this team apart is their strong bond and chemistry. They’re always cheering one another on during their matches and shouting words of encouragement.
“I think just as a team we really enjoy hanging out together. We’re really connected.” said junior Alec Adamson. “We’re playing for each other; we’re not playing for ourselves out there. Just playing as a team.”
Fighting for one another has put the Aggies on a 10 game winning streak after winning their own tournament this weekend, the Golden State Invitational. This is the team’s longest streak since the 2001 season. The team has also received well-deserved recognition when they were ranked No. 49 in the nation on Feb. 23 by the Oracle/ITA Division I rankings.
“I don’t think [we’ve] exceeded [expectations], no,” Steidlmayer said. “I think what we’ve done is we’ve been real competitive each and every time.”
Although the team has enjoyed the wins, they know that there are still four important matches against conference opponents. The schedule includes, Cal Poly, UC Riverside, UC Santa Barbara and UC Irvine, with the latter two teams ranked 52 and 57 in the nation, respectively.
Given that they were co-champs last year and look even better than before, the Aggies have confidence in their future matches. Being crowned as regular season champions is only one of the team’s two biggest goals.
“Obviously [we want to do well in] the Big West tournament in April down in Indian Wells,” Adamson said. “We’ve never won that tournament before so that’s our main goal for this year. We’re just trying to improve a little bit each and every week and try and get that Big West [tournament] championship.”
Honorable Mention: Men’s basketball
An honorable mention for Team of the Quarter goes to the men’s basketball team, who made every game interesting. The team fought hard in virtually every contest, including three games that went into overtime. Many of the team’s losses were by slight margins.
Senior forward Josh Fox averaged a team high 14.9 points per game. Fox is the only graduating starter, meaning that the Aggie squad will be able to maintain their competitiveness into next year.
Freshman guard Siler Schneider set the freshman UC Davis scoring record with 290 points on the season. Junior guards Darius Graham and Lemar Brynton also had solid seasons and will look to lead their team to an even better season next year.
Written by Michael Martinez – firstname.lastname@example.org