INDIAN WELLS, Calif. -- The UC Davis men's tennis team's run through the Big West Conference Tournament came to an early end on Friday afternoon, as the second-seeded Aggies lost their battle with third-seeded Cal Poly, 4-2, in a nip and tuck battle at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, Calif.
UC Davis finished its 2016-17 campaign with a 14-8 overall record, finishing second in the conference standings during the regular season, and reaching double figures in the win column for the fourth time in five seasons under Head Coach Eric Steidlmayer.
The Mustangs, who entered the week ranked No. 50 in the nation according to the latest ITA poll, improved to 18-7 and advanced to face Central Coast rival and top-seeded UC Santa Barbara in Sunday's championship match.
A hotly contested doubles point came down to the final match after seniors Bryce McKelvie and James Wade combined to post a 6-1 win over Karl Enander and Timothy Tan for an early lead. After Cal Poly tied things up with a win at No. 1, the Mustangs were able to inch ahead and claim the doubles point, as Garrett Auproux and Axel Damiens defeated Alec Adamson and Everett Maltby, 6-4, for a 1-0 lead in the match.
The Mustangs then put the Aggies' collective backs against the wall with straight-set singles wins at No. 3 and No. 1 to give Cal Poly a 3-0 lead in the match, but UC Davis fought back. Wade outlasted the nation's No. 114-ranked player, Ben Donovan, for a 7-6 (4) win in the opening set before taking the second, 6-4, for the Aggies' first point of the day.
Maltby, a 20-match winner for the second time in his three seasons with the Aggies, then brought his team even closer with a come-from-behind, 6-7 (5), 6-2, 6-4, win over Josh Ortlip at No. 4, but the Mustangs were able to close out the match with a win by Antoine Noel, 2-6, 6-2, 6-4, win over freshman Max Pham at No. 6.
Senior Eli Whittle rebounded from a first set loss to win the second against Damiens, but was trailing, 5-4, in the third when the match was called.
NCAA MEN'S TENNIS
Big West Conference Tournament Semifinals
#3 Cal Poly (18-7) vs. #2 UC Davis (14-8)
April 28, 2017 at Indian Wells, Calif. (Indian Wells Tennis Garden)
Cal Poly 4, UC Davis 2
1. #61 Corey Pang / Ben Donovan (CP) def. David Goulak / Tommy Lam (UCD), 6-2
2. Bryce McKelvie / James Wade (UCD) def. Karl Enander / Timothy Tan (CP), 6-1
3. Garrett Auproux / Axel Damiens (CP) def. Alec Adamson / Everett Maltby (UCD), 6-4
Order of Finish: 2, 1, 3*
1. Corey Pang (CP) def. Alec Adamson (UCD), 6-4, 6-4
2. James Wade (UCD) def. #114 Ben Donovan (CP), 7-6 (4), 6-4
3. Garrett Auproux (CP) def. Bryce McKelvie (UCD), 6-4, 6-4
4. Everett Maltby (UCD) def. Josh Ortlip (CP), 6-7 (5), 6-2, 6-4
5. Eli Whittle (UCD) vs. Axel Damiens (CP), 5-7, 7-6 (5), 4-5 unfinished
6. Antoine Noel (CP) def. Max Pham (UCD), 2-6, 6-2, 6-4
Order of Finish: 3, 1, 2, 4, 6*