Aggies show strong turnout in tune-up for ITA regionals

The UC Davis women’s tennis team earned themselves a No. 59 national ranking in last year’s preseason polls and may be on track to grabbing another spot in the top 75 this year as well.

The Aggies traveled down to Moraga to compete in the Saint Mary’s Invitational this weekend and had quite an interesting tournament.

“There was a delay because of wet courts, so five of our players were on at 10 at night in the cold under the lights,” said head coach Bill Maze. “It was fun to watch the players play; they went close to midnight and put in a lot of effort.

Maze was most impressed with the performance of the players battling for a spot in the starting lineup.

“I think all the players from five down are in the mix for a spot in the starting lineup,” Maze said. “It’s great because they push each other and it makes them all better.”

Junior Melissa Kobayakawa won the Flight Blue singles draw in her first fall tournament of the season with a 6-2, 6-3 victory in the final. Senior Zoe Davidson lost her first round match in the same singles flight, but won a round in the consolation draw.

“I was really impressed with the players in the Blue draw because they got wins over Sacramento State and that was good for us,” Maze said. “It shows we have a lot of depth and it bodes well for our team.”

Junior Megan Heneghan was the only Aggie in the top flight of the singles draw. She won one round, then had a close loss to a player from Saint Mary’s.

Senior Ellie Edles, whose past couple seasons have been riddled with injuries, had a strong showing despite two close losses. She dropped her first round match by the slimmest of margins by a score of 7-6, 7-6 with tiebreaker scores of 7-5 in each.  Fellow senior Lauren Curry also fell in the first round to one of Sacramento State’s top freshmen.

“[Lauren’s] hitting the ball well and she’s going to have a good year,” Maze said. “Ellie played really well but just didn’t get it done, but she seems to be really fit right now.

Sophomore Layla Sanders won her first round match as the first seed in the ITA White singles draw, but was beaten in the second round to a player from USF.

Junior Nicole Koehly beat the third seed of the White Flight of singles in three sets but fell in the next round.

The two UC Davis freshmen got some experience in their first college tournament. Tiffany Pham won her first round in the White Flight singles draw in straight sets. Claire Jaramishian fell in her first round, but got a victory over a Sac State player on Sunday — which happened to be her birthday, according to Maze — to end the tournament on a high note.

Maze took nothing but positives from the team’s effort, pointing out that the matches were close and could have swung either way.

“We just have to work on winning bigger points,” he said. “The players are having fun and it gets you excited for the season.”

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

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