Just when things appeared to be going the right way, the UC Davis Women’s Tennis season came to a disappointing end.
Despite all the indicators that this would be the year, No. 2-seeded UC Davis found itself in a familiar place when it fell 4-0 to the lower-seeded UC Irvine.
The Aggies breezed by Pacific on Friday but could not get by the Anteaters in the Big West Conference Championship semifinals at Indian Wells Tennis Garden.
“The team put a lot of effort and had good attitudes on the court,” said head coach Bill Maze. “Winning would have been icing on the cake, but I’m proud of how we played.”
Friday — UC Davis 4, Pacific 0
The Aggies beat the Tigers not two weeks ago, and did not lose a match in their convincing win over Pacific in the first round of the Big West tournament.
UC Davis got on the board first when its top two doubles teams both got 8-4 wins to capture the doubles point.
Three quick singles wins then sealed the deal for the Aggies. Freshman Layla Sanders showed little signs of being new to the tournament and was the first to finish, with a 6-1, 6-1 win.
Senior Dahra Zamudio followed suit and only dropped two games in her 6-0, 6-2 win, while sophomore Nicole Koehly put the match away with an efficient 6-4, 6-2 clinching victory.
“We were pumped up for the match and it showed,” Maze said. “We came out aggressive in doubles, then it carried over to singles.”
Saturday — UC Irvine 4, UC Davis 0
It is impossible to say which team was looking for revenge in this semifinal matchup, seeing that UCI knocked the Aggies out of the Big West tournament last year by a 4-0 score, but UC Davis took down the Anteaters earlier this season.
Either way, the Aggies could not put together the same results they had two weeks ago in a 5-2 upset of then-No. 52-ranked UCI.
“I just think they played better today,” Maze said. “We played about the same as we did last time in singles, but they were very well prepared.”
UC Davis lost the doubles point and then could not regain any momentum in singles play. They lost matches at the No. 6, 1 and 5 singles spots in the defeat.
“What nobody knows is that courts two, three and four were all very close matches,” Maze said. “We have a strong singles lineup and we knew it was going to be a battle.”
Thus concludes the illustrious career of Zamudio, who has been a mainstay in the Aggies lineup since her arrival four years ago.
Despite the loss of its No. 2 singles player, the future looks bright for UC Davis.
“I’m really looking forward to next year — we’re only going to get better,” Maze said. “If we work hard over the summer we will be a very good team.”
MATTHEW YUEN can be reached at email@example.com.