March 18, 2009
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The No. 30 Florida State women’s tennis team (7-5, 0-3) will compete in one of its busiest weekends beginning Friday, March 20 as the Seminoles host the No. 7 Duke Blue Devils at 4 p.m. and quickly turn around to match-up against No. 15 North Carolina at 12 p.m. on Sunday, March 22. Florida State will look to earn its first Atlantic Coast Conference win of the season at the Scott Speicher Tennis Center.
“This weekend will be another great opportunity for our team,” head coach Jennifer Hyde said. “This week of practice has been great. The preparation has been very physical and the girls all feel like they are in a good rhythm. They are excited to battle against two more ACC opponents at our home facility, and look to engage our fans in the matches.”
First up on Florida State’s list will be the Blue Devils on Friday afternoon. Duke currently sits at eighth in the conference and will open its ACC season here in Tallahassee. In spite of falling to Duke in the 2008 match-up, several Seminoles gained big individual wins beginning with then freshman Katie Rybakova (Coral Springs, Fla.). Rybakova played her best match to date as she triumphed over No. 14 Ellah Nze 7-5, 5-7, 6-4. The freshman also teamed up with Ania Rynarzewska (Inowroclaw, Poland) to upset the third-ranked doubles’ team of Melissa Mang and Amanda Granson 8-6. Also trumping her opponent was Lauren Macfarlane (Ogden, Utah) as she battled three sets against Duke’s Tara lyer to win 5-7, 6-4, 7-6 (5).
Duke will come into the competition with five nationally-ranked players and one doubles threat. Nze is now ranked No. 23 in the country, along with No. 30 Reka Zsilinska, No. 32 Mallory Cecil, No. 54 Iyer and No. 73 Granson. Mang and Granson make up the lone doubles team that ranks at No. 19.
The Seminoles will then have a quick turn around as they face the Tar Heels who are second in the ACC and are undefeated in the conference. The Garnet and Gold surmounted the Tar Heels in a huge upset 4-3 in their 2008 match. Former Seminole Carolin Walter led her team to the victory as she clinched the point against Austin Smith 6-3, 7-6 (2). Rynarzewska stepped up to gain the first point for the Seminoles and tied the score up 1-1. Next up was Jessica Wente (Whitehouse, Texas) rallying back from almost losing the first set, but eventually beat her opponent 6-4, 6-1 while Federica Suess (Ludwigshafen, Germany) gave the Seminoles their third point with her victory.
The Tar Heels will hit the courts with four nationally-ranked players in No. 53 Sanaz Marand, No. 86 Sophie Grabinski, No. 93 Katrina Tsang and No. 110 Shinann Featherston.
Although the competition seems lofty, the Seminoles will bring their ammunition into the battle in No. 44 Noemie Scharle (Colmar-berg Luxembourg) , No. 56 Rybakova and No. 76 Suess.
Help cheer the Seminoles on this weekend as admission is free. The team will also be accepting donations for the Relay for Life and bring baked treats for the fans who give. Live stats will also be available through www.seminoles.com.