LAKE NONA, Fla. – In front of a packed crowd of over 2,000 people, the Florida State men’s tennis team defeated the No. 8 Florida Gators for the second consecutive year during the USTA’s College MatchDay.
This was the first time under head coach Dwayne Hultquist the Noles have defeated the Gators in back-to-back matches, and his 17th win over a Top-15 team.
“This feels great,” said Hultquist. “It was an unbelievably tough match. It was just a battle.”
The men fell behind early in doubles after losing court one 6-2 but rebounded well. Senior Guy Iradukunda and sophomore Alex Knaff tied it up at one in their first doubles match of the spring together. The pair defeated the Gators No. 10 ranked doubles pair 6-4. With the doubles point up for grabs seniors Terrance and Terrell Whitehurst pulled out a huge victory on court three. They were up 5-4 against Florida’s No. 11 ranked doubles pair. The Gators tied it at five. The Noles once against took the lead this time 6-5, but once against Florida tied it up. In the tiebreaker, the Whitehurst twins grabbed an early lead and did not look back as they clinched the Noles eight doubles point of the season.
“It was a battle to win the doubles and I thought that was important for us to get,” said Hultquist. “We were able to beat two of their three teams that are all ranked Top-15 in the country.”
Florida State did not get off to a great start in singles and fell behind to the Gators 3-1 after losing on courts three, five and six. The Seminoles were able to turn the momentum back around to come back and stun Florida. It started on court four as Knaff turned his match around after a 6-1 first set loss. Knaff went on to win the final two sets 6-4, 6-2 to keep the Noles in the match.
“They really took it to us in the first part of the match,” said Hultquist. “They got four first sets and we were just holding on, on courts one and two and were fortunate enough to get the tiebreakers on those. We just battled, and I am really proud of Alex Knaff. He lost the first set 6-1 and has been hurt. He played lights out the last two sets and got us to 3-2.”
It came down to courts one and two and Florida State showed their toughness and fight. Iradukunda battles in a 12-point first set tiebreaker and won the second set 6-3 against Florida’s No. 8 Johannes Ingildsen to tie the match at three. Lucas was in a fight of his own on court two. Poullain won the first set in a tiebreaker and while cramping in the second set did the same to earn his first match-clinching victory of the season.
“Guy did a great job of finishing it quick,” said Hultquist. “Lucas has such heart. He is such a winner.”
“It was an unbelievable feeling,” said Poullain. “That was the biggest match of the year and I was able to clinch it. I was so happy. All of the guys played hard and clinch it was such a great feeling and so special.”
To keep up with the Seminoles, check Seminoles.com for the latest news and scheduling information, or keep up with the team on social media through Twitter (@FSU_MTennis), Facebook (/FSUMTennis), and Instagram @FSU_MTennis).
Tennis Match Results
#8 Florida vs #22 Florida State University
Feb. 3, 2018 at Lake Nona, Fla.
(USTA National Center)
Florida State University 1, Florida 0
1. #22 Guy Iradukunda (FS) def. #8 Johannes Ingildsen (UF) 7-6(10), 6-3
2. #24 Lucas Poullain (FS) def. Oliver Crawford (UF) 7-6(4), 7-6(5)
3. #39 Durate Vale (UF) def. Jose Gracia (FS) 6-4, 6-3
4. #59 Alex Knaff (FS) def. Andy Andrade (UF) 1-6, 6-4, 6-2
5. Chase Perez-Blanco (UF) def. Chase Wood (FS) 6-3, 6-0
6. McClain Kessler (UF) def. Rana-Roop Singh Bhullar (FS) 6-2, 7-5
1. #1 Alfredo Perez/Johannes Inglidsen (UF) def. #8 Lucas Poullain/Jose Gracia (FS) 6-2
2. Guy Iradukunda/Alex Knaff (FS) def. #10 Durate Vale/McClain Kessler (UF) 6-4
3. Terrell Whitehurst/Terrance Whitehurst (FS) def. #11 Oliver Crawford/Chase Perez-Blanco (UF) 7-6(3)