February 24, 2006 - by
Florida State Tennis Collides With Alabama Saturday Afternoon

Feb. 24, 2006


THIS WEEK:


No. 34 Florida State (4-5, 0-1 ACC) returns to the friendly confines of Scott Speicher Tennis Center on Saturday to face No. 51 Alabama (4-5) at 1pm . . . Local forecasts call for rain showers all day Saturday so if inclement weather occurs, the match will be made up on Sunday at a time not yet determined. . . Seminoles.com will provide fans with all the latest details as they are made available . . . The Seminoles have been idle all week since returning home from the 2006 USTA-ITA National Indoors last Sunday where the team went 1-2 with an upset bid over then-No. 10 South Carolina . . . FSU competed in the tournament without No. 100 Jonathas Sucupira (hand fracture) and Ytai Abougzir (illness) . . . Abougzir will be in the lineup on Saturday and Sucupira could possibly make his 2006 dual season debut versus the Crimson Tide . . . Senior Chris Westerhof looks to make FSU history in the match as he needs one more doubles victory to become the school’s all-time career doubles leader. . . He will make the attempt along with his partner, Abougzir, at court No. 1.


A LOOK AT SINGLES PLAY:


Through the Seminoles’ first nine matches of the season the team has been streaky in singles play. Overall in singles this spring Florida State is 21-24 and three Seminoles are currently .500 or better in dual-match play entering Saturday’s contest. Westerhof and freshman Maciek Sucupira lead the team with a 4-3 singles mark while No. 98th-ranked sophomore Sam Chang is 4-4. At specific courts, Abougzir has a 3-1 mark at the top spot and Westerhof is 3-1 in the third position.


ITA NATIONAL RANKINGS:


FSU vaulted up four spots in the latest ITA-Fila National Rankings thanks to an upset bid over South Carolina and a strong strength of schedule. The Seminoles went from No. 38 polls to No. 34 this week. All five of Florida State’s losses on the season have come against ranked opponents, including three teams ranked in the top-20 in the nation. The Seminoles fell to No. 2 Pepperdine, No. 9 Baylor, No. 18 Miami, No. 37 Louisiana-Lafayette and No. 59 Nebraska. Florida State has quality wins over No. 31 South Carolina, No. 47 Penn, and No. 68 Furman.


INDIVIDUALS IN THE RANKINGS:


The Tribe started the season with four players ranked in singles but since then all but two have dropped out of the national spotlight. Sucupiras began the season at No. 36 but because he has not competed this year, officials dropped him to No. 100. Chang fell from No. 49 to No. 98. Sykut (then-No. 68) and Abougzir (then-No. 72) are no longer ranked.


SCOUTING ALABAMA:


With Southeastern Conference play a little more than a week away, the Alabama tennis team will hit the road for its second consecutive road match at Florida State. The Crimson Tide has already knocked off a pair of ranked opponents this season, but will look to snap its current two-match losing skid and win for the first time this season on the road when it takes the courts against FSU.


Junior Joseph Jung vaulted up 42 spots in the latest Fila/ITA rankings, released Wednesday. After starting the spring 5-0 at No. 1 singles, Jung jumped from No. 100 to No. 58 in the national rankings to earn his highest career ranking. He’s won 14 in a row in dual-match competition and has recorded two wins this spring over ranked opponents. By the time Saturday’s match rolls around, it will mark 11 months to the day that Jung last lost in a team setting. Perhaps the most impressive part of Jung’s current roll, though, lies in his ability to pull out close, three-set matches. Jung’s last four matches, and eight of his last 10, have all extended into a third set. Remarkably, he’s won seven of the eight. No doubt, Alabama will once again look to Jung Saturday to come through at No. 1 singles. He’ll likely face Abougzir at the No. 1 position.


Through the Tide’s first five dual-matches the team has seen improvement in all areas of its singles line-up. Overall in singles play this spring Alabama is 18-12 and has already rallied to win twice after dropping the doubles point, something it did only once in 2005. Five Alabama players are currently .500 or better in dual-match play entering Saturday’s match.


KEEPING UP WITH THE SEMINOLES:


Fans interested in keeping up with the Florida State men’s tennis team this season can read journal entries logged each week by senior Chris Westerhof located on the sidebar of the men’s tennis page. Westerhof updates these entries each Monday. In store next week is updates to “A to Z” and “Road Trip: FSU Style” feature stories.  Furthermore, Seminoles.com will soon add a poll to its page so fans can vote on a nickname for junior Sam Chang.  Check back for more updates!


WHAT’S NEXT:


Florida State will host No. 11 Ohio State on Saturday, March 4, at noon. The match will be the final home contest for Florida State until Match 12.

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