Jan. 15, 2004
SKILLMAN, N.J. –
Last season the Florida State University men’s tennis team had its best season under head coach Dwayne Hultquist. A spot in the second round of the NCAA Tournament propelled the Seminoles to the No. 32 spot in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s spring rankings.
Seminoles in the national rankings don’t stop with just the team. After a tremendous fall campaign, the sophomore doubles team of Jeff Groslimond (Atlanta, Ga.) and Chris Westerhof (Durban, South Africa) premiered at No. 15 in the nation. Within the Mideast Region, they are ranked fourth.
In singles action, junior Mat Cloer (Brevard, N.C.) is tied for the 29th spot in the country with Calle Hansen of Pepperdine. Regionally he holds the number six spot in the Mideast sector.
“I think that 32 is about where we should be,” Hultquist said. “Last year during the season we got into the 20’s and I think that’s the point where we want to shoot for again this year.”
Unranked at the end of last season, Groslimond and Westerhof made a name for themselves at the ITA All-American. The duo won seven-straight matches to get into the round of 16 where they fell to the number three team in the country. Overall, the Seminole pairing won ten consecutive matches to start the fall campaign.
“I’m proud of Jeff and Chris earning the No. 15 ranking,” Hultquist added. “To go from unranked to No. 15 is pretty impressive. They’re very good on the day of the match, but if they can get better in practice they are going to get where they want to go. Fortunately they have a lot of competition in practice to keep them hungry.”
As someone who plays better the more he competes, Cloer did not get in the number of matches the Seminoles would have liked him to play in the fall. An injury hampered his performance at the ITA Indoor Championships as he was forced to withdraw from the tournament.
The fall campaign did start off with a bang for Cloer as he beat second-ranked Bo Hodge of Georgia at the ITA All-American. Even though his three losses were all to ranked players, playing only seven matches caused his ranking to drop from 22nd at the start of fall campaign to 29th in the inaugural spring ratings.
“Mat does have some motivation to get back up to where he was in the fall,” Hultquist noted. “He had that good win over Bo Hodge, who was number two at the time, but needs a lot of matches and hopefully he comes out and plays strong early on. He’s going to have to be ready from the start. Two of his first three matches in the dual meets are against higher ranked players.”
Cloer will get his first shot to improve his ranking this weekend when he travels to Winston-Salem, N.C., for the ACC Indoor Championships. He will play in the singles draw, while taking a shot at the doubles tournament with is partner, freshman Jonathas Sucupira (Sao Paulo, Brazil).
Florida State may have one of the toughest schedules in the country with 18 of its spring opponents ranked by the ITA. Within the Atlantic Coast Conference alone there are seven ranked schools, led by number eight Duke. Clemson (26) and Wake Forest (30) are the only league schools rated ahead of the Tribe.
Away from conference action, the Seminoles will face two teams that will via for a national championship. On January 25, Florida State will travel to Gainesville to take on the third-ranked Gators. March 20 might be the toughest challenge of the year for the Seminoles for that’s when they face defending national champion and top-ranked Illinois.
Following the ACC Indoors (January 16-18), Florida State opens dual match competition on January 19 when it plays host to in-state rival Stetson at 1 p.m. at the Scott Speicher Tennis Center.