Tennis stays local for a pair of weekend duals

Senior Bryce McKelvie is 4-1 in doubles this season, including a perfect 3-0 alongside teammate James Wade. (Photo by Wayne Tilcock/Davis Enterprise)
Feb. 15, 2017

THIS WEEK…
UC Davis (3-3) at Saint Mary's (3-2)
Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017
1:00 p.m.
Moraga, Calif.
Timothy Korth Tennis Complex

Nevada (2-2) at UC Davis (3-3)
Sunday, Feb. 19, 2017
10:00 a.m.
Davis, Calif.
Marya Welch Tennis Center

FIRST SERVE: Riding the momentum of back-to-back victories for the first time this season, the UC Davis men's tennis team stays local for a pair of duals this weekend. The Aggies wrap up what was to a be run of nine straight matches away from home before Mother Nature had her say, heading to Moraga, Calif., on Saturday (Feb. 18) for a 1 p.m. first serve against Saint Mary's at the Timothy Korth Tennis Complex on campus. UC Davis then returns to the friendly confines of the Marya Welch Tennis Center for its 2017 home opener, welcoming Nevada to town for a 10 a.m. first serve on Sunday morning (Feb. 19).

IN THE POLLS: Neither UC Davis, Saint Mary's, nor Nevada, are ranked among the top 25 teams in the nation according to the Feb. 8 release of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association's poll.

FOLLOW ME!: Fans of UC Davis men's tennis can follow them on the program's official social media platforms: search for UC Davis Men's Tennis on Facebook and follow the team on Twitter -- and get live in-match results for selected matches -- at @UCDavisMTennis.

ABOUT THE GAELS: Saint Mary's enters the contest against UC Davis with a 3-2 mark thus far this spring, opening with wins over American River College (6-1), Sonoma State (7-0), and Holy Names (5-2), before falling to Fresno State and No. 20 Stanford in its last two outings… Junior Nash Vollenweider and freshman Matis Bot lead the squad with a trio of dual wins this far this spring, both sporting 3-2 marks in dual matches entering the contest with the Aggies… The tandem of Calvin Jordaan and Brian Lee have gone 2-1 in doubles to lead the Gaels, who have used 11 different doubles pairings this season.

ABOUT THE WOLF PACK: Nevada enters the week with a 2-2 record thus far this spring and will travel to San Francisco before facing UC Davis… The Wolf Pack opened the season with wins over UC Riverside (5-2) and UC Santa Cruz (7-0) before falling on the road at Santa Clara (4-1) and Pacific (5-2)… Sophomore Jonathan Aremon leads the team with a perfect 3-0 mark in duals thus far and a 12-6 overall record when you account for the fall tournaments… In doubles, the duo of juniors Robert Margitfalvi and Peter O'Donovan are 3-0 at the No. 2 spot and 4-1 overall on the year.

SERIES NOTES: According to yearly game-by-game records that date back to the 1996-97 season, Saint Mary's leads the all-time series with UC Davis by a, 9-2, count -- including a 6-2 mark during the Aggies' Division I Era… UC Davis, however, has won the last two meetings with the Gaels, posting a 7-0 shutout on Feb. 15, 2015, in Moraga, and a 4-2 win a year later in Davis… The Aggies lead the all-time series with Nevada, 13-12, but are just 4-6 during their Division I days against the Wolf Pack… UC Davis posted identical 7-0 shutouts over Nevada last season and the Aggies have won three straight against the Wolf Pack dating back to a 4-0 Nevada win on March 28, 2014.

WADE NETS BIG WEST HONORS: UC Davis senior James Wade was named the Big West Conference Athlete of the Week on Feb. 15 after helping the Aggies to a successful Southern California road trip last week. In earning the third such honor in his UC Davis career, Wade tied Aggie alum Kyle Miller for the most in the program's Division I history after taking home the award on Feb. 19, 2014, as a freshman, and Jan. 21, 2015, as a sophomore. Wade finished 2-1 in singles play, battling Thibault Forget of No. 9 USC to three sets before falling, before defeating San Diego's Josh Page (6-2, 6-2) and San Diego State's Sander Gjoels-Andersen (7-5, 4-6, 7-5) -- the latter clinching the Aggies' 4-3 win over the Aztecs. In doubles, he and classmate Bryce McKelvie finished 2-0, including a doubles point clincher against SDSU at the top spot in the UC Davis lineup.

MAX EFFORT: UC Davis freshman Max Pham has been on quite a roll to start the spring, winning his last four straight to improve to 4-2 in duals. After claiming his first win over the season against San Francisco's Woravin Kumthonkittikul, Pham gave the Aggies their first-ever point against powerhouse USC, posting a straight-set victory at No. 6 against the Trojans' Henry Ji, before wrapping up straight set triumphs in UC Davis' wins over San Diego and San Diego State, the former tying the match at three-all to set up teammate Alec Adamson's clincher. The Newport Coast, Calif., native leads the Aggies in overall wins (13) and dual match victories (four).

DOUBLES TROUBLE: For opponents that is. UC Davis has continued to dominate in doubles to start the spring, posting a 10-6 overall record in duals thus far (39-20 overall) and clinching the doubles point in five of the team's six matches this season. The senior duo of Bryce McKelvie and James Wade, as well as the tandem of senior Alec Adamson and freshman Max Pham, are each 3-0 to start the spring, standing among a deep group of 16 different doubles combinations so far this season.

WATCH YOUR SIX: Through six duals this season, the Aggies have been automatic at No. 6 singles, going a perfect 6-for-6 at that spot in the lineup thus far. Pham has four of those six wins, posting a perfect 4-0 mark, while classmate David Goulak and junior Tommy Lam have also each won at the position.

RECYCLED NOTES
A QUICK LOOK AT THE AGGIES: UC Davis returns all but two players off of last season's squad that finished with a 17-7 overall record and a 3-2 mark in the Big West Conference, setting a new Division I standard for wins in a single-season and posting the highest win goal in a quarter century. As a team, the Aggies finished ranked No. 71 in the nation according to the final ITA poll -- including reaching a program-record No. 49 in the country on Feb. 23 -- while gaining the semifinals of the conference tournament for the third consecutive season. Then-junior Alec Adamson was one of three 20-match winners for UC Davis en route to Big West Player of the Year honors and a trip to the NCAA Tournament, as teammates Bryce McKelvie (27-8) and James Wade (20-13) also won 20 matches. In doubles McKelvie and partner Tommy Lam finished a combined 17-2 in doubles -- including a 10-1 mark in dual matches -- to lead the way.

AGGIES INK THREE DURING EARLY PERIOD: With five seniors on his roster for 2016-17, UC Davis head men's tennis coach Eric Steidlmayer has begun the process of restocking his roster by announcing the signing of three top-level recruits for next year's campaign on Nov. 22. Incoming freshmen Ivan Thamma of San Diego, Calif., and local products Chethan Swanson (Folsom, Calif.) and Arjith Jayaraman (El Dorado Hills, Calif.), all put their names to National Letters of Intent to continue their academic and athletic careers with the Aggies beginning with the 2017-18 season. For the complete release, visit: http://www.ucdavisaggies.com/sports/m-tennis/spec-rel/112216aaa.html.

QUITE THE HAUL: It was almost a case of Christmas in June for UC Davis Head Coach Eric Steidlmayer who, along with assistant coach Michael Meyer, helped haul in the nation's fifth-best mid-major recruiting class in the country according to the website TennisRecruiting.net, thanks to the signings of freshmen David Goulak, Max Pham, and Mitchell Iwahiro. It was the highest-ranked recruiting class for Steidlmayer, who brought in his third top-20 class in the last four seasons after doing so in both 2013 (No. 15) and 2014 (No. 17). The Aggies, who were also among 23 schools receiving votes on the website's top overall recruiting classes (16 votes), are one of two Big West Conference schools in this year's mid-major top 25 (UC Santa Barbara is No. 19) and are among a group of four California schools among the top 10, trailing only Loyola Marymount (No. 4) on that list. The mid-major list includes schools in all divisions from conferences outside the five so-called "major" football conferences -- the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12, and SEC -- as well as the Ivy League.

RECRUITING SUCCESS: In all, UC Davis has been listed among TennisRecruiting.net's top 25 mid-major classes six times since beginning their reclassification to the Division I level according to the website: No. 12 in 2006, No. 20 in 2007, No. 21 in 2009, No. 15 in 2013, No. 17 in 2014, and No. 5 in 2016.

BACKHANDS TO BOOKWORK: A trio of Aggies picked up honors from the Intercollegiate Tennis Association thanks to their work in the classroom as the now graduated Brett Bacharach (aerospace science and engineering major), current senior Eli Whittle (managerial economics major), and current junior Tommy Lam (economics major), were named to the organization's scholar-athlete list. It was the second time that Whittle has been named to the list, after earning the honor in his first season with UC Davis in 2015, while Bacharach and Lam each picked up their first career honors. In all, the Aggies have had 12 student-athletes earn a total of 15 ITA Scholar-Athlete awards during the program's Division I Era, 20 student-athlete winners earn a total of 33 awards since 1982, and have twice been honored as a team (2008 and 2009).

COACH STEIDLMAYER: Entering his fifth season at the helm of the Aggies, Eric Steidlmayer has marshaled a steady improvement in the win column for the Aggies over the last four seasons, posting a combined 55-37 (.598) record and a 10-11 mark in Big West Conference play -- including a 4-1 league record and a share of the conference regular season title in 2015. Named the 2015 Big West Coach of the Year, Steidlmayer has steadily improved the Aggies in each of his campaigns, taking the reins and guiding his team to an 8-13 mark in his debut (an improvement of three wins from the previous season), following that up with a 14-win season in 2014 before blowing the doors off the record books with a 16-6 mark in 2015. Last year, the Aggies set a program Division I record with 17 wins -- the most since the 1991 squad finished 18-5 -- and then-junior Alec Adamson was named the program's first Big West Player of the Year. All told, in his four seasons, Steidlmayer has coached six players to a total of 11 All-Big West singles honors and seven doubles teams to nine all-conference doubles awards.

Steidlmayer, who was an assistant coach at UC Davis for two seasons from 1997-98 while receiving his master's degree in economics, joined the Aggies in July of 2012 after posting a 182-108 overall record in 14 years as a head coach at UC San Diego, coaching five All-America selections and leading the Tritons to 12 consecutive NCAA Division II postseason appearances, including a national semifinal appearance in 2007 and a 20-0 record during the 2011 regular season.