April 21, 2014
DAVIS, Calif. – By finishing fourth in the league standings, UC Davis will face fifth-place UC Santa Barbara in its opening match at this week’s Big West Women’s Tennis Championship. The Aggies will take the courts at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden located in Indian Wells, Calif., at 11 a.m. in Friday’s quarterfinal matchup.
The winner of this matchup will face the winner of Long Beach State-Cal State Fullerton/UC Riverside, the other quarterfinal contest taking place in the top-half of the Tournament’s bracket.
The Titans and Highlanders will kick-off the event on Thursday, April 24, in the lone opening round match as the conference’s No. 8 and No. 9 seed respectively. The winner of that dual will advance and draw No. 1 seed Long Beach State as its next opponent.
The 49ers enter this year’s playoffs as the defending champions and winners of the last three Tournament titles.
In the opposite half of the bracket, No. 3 Hawai’i will battle No. 6 Cal State Northridge for the second time in five days; these team’s faced one another in Northridge, on Easter, in the Big West’s final regular season contest of the year. That day, the Rainbow Wahine won the first four team points to sweep the Matadors, 4-0.
The final quarterfinal matchup features No. 2 UC Irvine and No. 7 Cal Poly.
With the exception of Friday’s UC Davis-UCSB match, all other quarterfinals will start at 8 a.m.
Friday’s victors will return to the Garden for their respective 9 a.m. semifinal matches the following day; winners of those contests will compete for this season’s championship starting at 9 a.m. on Sunday, April 27.
Admission is free to all matches.
As is the case with Big West regular season duals, the inaugural team point is awarded to the first squad to win two doubles matches. Once that is earned, the remaining doubles match will cease immediately to prepare for the singles round.
After a brief respite between rounds, six singles matches will take place until either participant earns four team points. Once a team reaches that official threshold, unlike the regular season (unless agreed upon beforehand by both coaches as was the case when Hawai’i faced CSUN) singles matches still in progress will come to a halt.
The only hiccup within an otherwise phenomenal six-week stretch of tennis, UC Davis fell at UC Santa Barbara, 6-1, when these teams squared-off in their annual regular season matchup. That day started on a positive note for the Aggies when Layla Sanders/Nicole Koehly and Megan Heneghan/Melissa Kobayakawa won their respective doubles matches to help UC Davis capture the doubles point. UC Santa Barbara responded by winning all six singles matches to hand the Aggies their only loss throughout that timespan.
“We did not play our best tennis that day,” said UC Davis head coach Bill Maze regarding his team’s result at Santa Barbara. “UCSB is challenging to play at their place. We did not start that road trip well, but were able to turn things around and started playing to our potential as the weekend continued.”
UC Davis ended its Central California road trip with a victory at Cal Poly, the first of six straight wins recorded by the Aggies as their season progressed.
Led by seniors Heneghan, Koehly and Kobayakawa, Maze feels that their leadership will pay dividends once the team arrives to Indian Wells.
“These three seniors have played incredible tennis and have been great leaders both on, and off the court … I think we have a chance to make it to the end.”
Finishing 12-9 in singles competition throughout her first year as an Aggie, Kamila Kecki’s transition to Division I tennis has been a smooth one so far. Undefeated in her six singles matches, Fellow freshman Frederique Sleiffer provides Maze with additional depth, and options should the Aggies make a deep run at this year’s event.
Rarely has UC Davis entered the singles round trailing on the scoreboard, doubles specialist Samantha Martino is one reason why the Aggies have dominated doubles play throughout the spring. In her first season on campus, Martino earned 12 doubles wins, primarily alongside sophomore Tiffany Pham.
Regular fixtures in the Aggies’ lineup, Pham and junior Layla Sanders hope their play will help UC Davis advance to the semifinal round for the first time since the 2012 season. Equally as dangerous in singles and doubles play, the pair are two of numerous reasons why other teams are hesitant to face UC Davis at this season’s Tournament.
Friday’s quarterfinal is the second time that UC Santa Barbara and UC Davis have faced one another at Indian Wells; at the 2010 Tournament, the Gauchos defeated the Aggies by a 4-1 score.
UC Davis will look to even its playoff record against UCSB and advance to Saturday’s semifinal when the Aggies open action at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden Friday at 11 a.m.
2014 Big West Women’s Tennis Championship
April 24-27, 2014
Indian Wells Tennis Garden (Indian Wells, Calif.)
Thursday, April 24
No. 8 Cal State Fullerton vs. No. 9 UC Riverside – 9 a.m.
Friday, April 25
No. 1 Long Beach State vs. No. 8/No. 9 winner – 8 a.m.
No. 2 UC Irvine vs. No. 7 Cal Poly – 8 am
No. 3 Hawai‘i vs. No. 6 Cal State Northridge – 8 a.m.
No. 4 UC Davis vs. No. 5 UC Santa Barbara – 11 a.m.
Saturday, April 26
Semifinal Match – 9 a.m.
Semifinal Match – 9 a.m.
Sunday, April 27
Championship Match – 9 a.m.