THIS WEEK’S MATCHES
UC Davis Aggies (1-1) at No. 48 San Diego State Aztecs (2-1)
Saturday, Feb. 1 – 12 p.m.
Aztec Tennis Center – San Diego
UC Davis at UC San Diego (0-0)
Sunday, Feb. 2 – 11 a.m.
Northview Tennis Courts – La Jolla, Calif.
DAVIS, Calif. – The longest road trip of the season will come to a close this weekend after UC Davis faces No. 48 San Diego State, its second ranked opponent in as many weeks, and UC San Diego, one of the top 20 Division II teams in the nation.
A CLOSER LOOK AT SAN DIEGO STATE
San Diego State will face its fourth-straight Big West team when UC Davis arrives to the Aztec Tennis Center Saturday afternoon. After opening the day with split-squad victories against UC Riverside and Cal State Fullerton, both by matching 6-1 scores, the Aztecs suffered their first loss of the season on Jan. 25 at No. 45 Long Beach State, the defending Big West champions.
After its matchup against the Aggies, SDSU will host UC Irvine, then cap its Big West-centric start of the season by hosting Hawai’i. In all, San Diego State will open with duals against six of the Big West’s nine teams, five of which will take place on its home courts.
Five letterwinners from last year’s team, one that posted a 22-6 overall record and ran the Mountain West table to capture a regular season title, return for head coach Peter Mattera.
A CLOSER LOOK AT UC SAN DIEGO
One of the top Division II programs in the nation, UC San Diego will close its inaugural weekend of duals Sunday afternoon against UC Davis. The Tritons will face the Aggies less than 24 hours after leaving the Northview Tennis Courts, its home facility, after facing Claremont-Mudd-Scripps-a team coming off its fourth-place finish at the 2013 NCAA Division III Championships.
During its fall season, UCSD sophomores Paula Chou and Kyra Scott each advanced to the quarterfinal round of the singles and doubles bracket at the (Division II) ITA West Region Championships.
PHAM HELPS AGGIES TAME TIGERS
One of three Aggies to collect a sweep of their matches played at Pacific, Tiffany Pham helped UC Davis earn its first win of the season thanks to her third-set tie-breaking triumph over the Tigers’ Francis Dean. Pham began her day by helping UC Davis capture the doubles point alongside teammate Samantha Martino; after defeating Cristiana Ferrari/Cristina Saenz 6-4, in doubles action, she collected the decisive team point, in the day’s final match, by a 6-3, 4-6, 1-0 (9) result.
Megan Heneghan and Melissa Kobayakawa were the other two Aggies to boast a perfect 2-0 effort at Pacific.
THE FIRST OF MANY
Competing alongside Tiffany Pham, freshman Samantha Martino collected the first doubles victory of her collegiate career at Pacific (1/25). Less that 24 hours after taking the court in her first-ever match as a member of UC Davis women’s tennis, the native of Katy, Texas, left the Hal Nelson Tennis Courts with a 6-4 doubles win to her credit.
TACKLING THE NATION’S TOP TEAMS
San Diego, one of the country’s top vacation destinations will be anything but for UC Davis this weekend as the Aggies will face another two nationally ranked teams throughout the second week of its dual schedule. Saturday’s dual at No. 48 San Diego State will precede Sunday’s tussle at UC San Diego-a squad ranked No. 17 among all Division II teams in the nation.
This year’s Triton women’s tennis team boasts only one senior and skews young with nine of 12 roster spots held by underclassmen. Tara Vanooteghem, the lone player who head coach Liz LaPlante will lose once this season concludes, is coming off a junior campaign where she tied for the team high in wins for the second straight year. In 2012-13, Vanooteghem won 18 of 21 singles matches, primarily at No. 5, and 14 of 20 doubles contests alongside Melinda Chu as the Tritons’ No. 3 pairing.
IRON SHARPENS IRON
UC Davis wasted no time in facing top-tiered competition when the Aggies battled Stanford, the No. 1 team in the nation, in its inaugural match of the season. That day, UC Davis head coach Bill Maze and his squad tested their mettle against a team that boasted five ranked singles players and two doubles teams.
THIS FACILITY FEELS FAMILIAR
By opening its season at Stanford and Pacific, UC Davis started its season at two locales that were very familiar to the program. The Taube Family Tennis Center, home to Cardinal tennis, was the site of last October’s USTA/ITA Northwest Regional-an event that featured all 10 players on the Aggies’ roster.
As has been the case since the 2008 season, UC Davis’ schedule included a contest against the Pacific Tigers. Unlike past seasons, this annual matchup was the first non-conference affair between the two since the 2013-14 season is Pacific’s first as a member of the West Coast Conference.
FORMER CARDINAL RETURNS TO CAMPUS
For UC Davis head coach Bill Maze, this year’s season opener will also double as a homecoming of sorts as the former Cardinal will return to his alma mater once again.
Before earning a B.S. in economics in 1978, Maze was a co-captain of Stanford’s men’s tennis teams for his final two seasons on campus. Awarded the Rafael Osuna Award for sportsmanship, competitiveness and contributions to the game as a junior, Maze was a three-time All-American at Stanford and played No. 1 doubles with John McEnroe as a senior.
Since its transition to Division I competition during the 2007-08 season, UC Davis defeated Pacific in five of the six head-to-head matchups, including the last four straight. In Stockton, the Aggies have enjoyed a similar level of success by taking three of four duals held on the Tigers’ courts. Of the three matches that previously took place in Stockton, the Aggies captured a 4-3 win in 2008 and 5-2 victory in 2012. Pacific’s lone home victory over UC Davis took place in 2010, a match that ended in the Tigers’ favor by a 6-1 score.
UC Davis will face its longest road swing of the year at the start of spring competition by participating in four straight matches starting with its season opener at Stanford. The Aggies will travel to Pacific (1/25) San Diego State (2/1) and UC San Diego (2/2) before hosting Nevada (2/7) in their first match at the Marya Welch Tennis Center.
Outside of their inaugural matches, UC Davis’ schedule features back-to-back road matches on three separate occasions.
THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME
Everyone involved with UC Davis women’s tennis will echo this sentiment once the Aggies open a six-game homestand, the longest of the year starting with a non-conference contest against Youngstown State (3/12). Additional non-conference action taking place in Davis during that portion of the schedule include duals against Eastern Washington (3/26) and Portland (3/30).
UC Davis will close its block of home matches with three straight against league opponents; visiting the Marya Welch Tennis Center are Cal State Fullerton (4/4), UC Irvine (4/6) and Cal State Northridge (4/8).
HENEGHAN EARNS AGGIES’ INAUGURAL ITA RANKING
When UC Davis started its fall season, the Aggies’ roster contained its first-ever player in the Division I era to receive a national ranking from the Intercollegiate Tennis Association as the governing body of collegiate tennis listed senior Megan Heneghan No. 90 among all singles players in the country.
ANYONE, ANYTIME, ANYWHERE
Throughout the upcoming months, UC Davis will battle six teams that start its spring season with a national ranking. Those opponents include, with respective rankings prior to its inaugural dual match:
No. 1 Stanford (Defending NCAA Champion)
No. 38 UC Irvine*
No. 45 Long Beach State*
No. 46 San Diego State
No. 66 Santa Clara
No. 68 San Jose State
* - Big West Conference Team
A DECADE AND MORE AT INDIAN WELLS
Indian Wells Tennis Garden is hosting the Big West Men’s and Women’s Tennis Championship for the 11th consecutive year. One of the premier facilities in the United States that also hosts the BNP Paribas Open, Indian Wells will host all six men’s and nine women’s teams from April 24-27.