The UC Davis men’s tennis team upset the University of Pacific 4-1 in the Big West Conference Championships to reach the semifinals, only to have their season ended by top-seeded Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.
UC Davis finished its season with a record of 6-15.
Friday — UC Davis 4, Pacific 1
The fifth-seeded UC Davis men’s tennis team advanced to the semifinals with a momentous 4-1 upset over Pacific after losing to the Tigers in the first round of the Big West Championships last year.
The Aggies took two out of three doubles matches and added three out of four singles wins in their first postseason victory.
UC Davis started with a quick 8-1 win at No. 3 doubles after senior Chris Aria and sophomore Alec Haley topped Pacific’s doubles team. The Aggies wrapped up the opening point with a deciding win at the No. 2 position.
Junior Toki Sherbakov and senior Josh Albert defeated Erik Cederwall and Alex Hamilton with 8-3 to take an early 1-0 advantage. UC Davis continued its upset bid in singles play, starting with Aria’s straight-set victory, 6-1, 7-6 (7) at the No. 4 position. Junior Hugo Verdi-Fortin fought back after dropping the first set to win 1-6, 6-3, 6-4.
Sherkabov’s play managed to clinch the victory in the No.1 spot, extending his match to three sets and winning by retirement against Castro 6-7 (1), 6-4, 1-1 ret.
“I am very proud of our guys,” said coach Daryl Lee. “We fought back from losing the first set in four singles matches.”
Saturday — Cal Poly 4, UC Davis 0
The Aggies fell to top-ranked Cal Poly 4-0 on Saturday at Indian Wells Tennis Garden. The Mustangs entered the tournament with a No. 63 Intercollegiate Tennis Association national ranking and the top spot in the conference.
Verdi-Fortin and sophomore Kyle Miller managed to take five games off of Andre Dome and Matt Fawcett in No. 1 doubles, but the Cal Poly duo held on for an 8-5 win. Haley and Aria then fell in the No. 3 spot.
The Mustangs dominated in singles action, giving up only three games in five out of the six sets completed. Sherbakov fell to Dome 6-3, 6-0 while Albert lost to Bell 6-1, 6-3. Comuzzo clinched the victory with a strong win over Haley 6-2, 6-4.
”Cal Poly was simply the better team out there,” Lee said. “They have many players in the national team and all of the credit goes to them.”
Despite the loss, UC Davis men’s tennis reached a new level this season with a strong semifinals performance in the Big West Championships. Lee and the players look forward to the time off and plan to return next spring with renewed confidence and hopeful prospects.
VEENA BANSAL can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.