April 23, 2010
CARY, NC– For the first time since 1986 No. 10 Duke will not advance to semifinals of the Atlantic Coast Conference Championships as No. 14 Florida State stunned the defending National Champions with a 4-2 triumph at the Cary Tennis Park. FSU will make its third-consecutive semifinal appearance for just the fourth time in program history. FSU now faces the top ranked team in the nation in No. 1 North Carolina on Saturday at 10 a.m. at the Cary Tennis Park.
“We had a great match today,” FSU head coach Jennifer Hyde said. “We knew one of the things we had to do today was out-compete Duke and we did an unbelievable job of that up and down the line. We’ve told them all season that these top 10 wins aren’t just going to come to you, but you have to go take them from these teams that sit ahead of us in the rankings. Today they did just that, and I think having been in this type of situation on a number of occasions this season definitely prepared us for this day.”
Court one saw FSU’s dynamic duo of Lauren McCreless and Francesca Segarelli conquering No. 38 Amanda Granson and Ellah Nze 8-2 on court one. The twosome improved their ACC record to 8-2.
In spite of dropping the doubles point the Seminoles came out in full force for singles with all but one ‘Nole winning their first sets.
“The girls turned things around in singles unbelievably well,” Coach Hyde said.“They were unfazed with losing the doubles point and did a great job taking command on all the courts at the start of singles.”
After Duke posted a quick win on court five to score its second point, No. 25 McCreless gave FSU hope as she trumped No. 38 Ellah Nze 6-2, 6-3 on court one to put the Seminoles on the board.
“Lauren continues to be a huge threat for everyone she competes against,” Coach Hyde added. “She is playing very physical and raw tennis right now which was very evident against a very good opponent today.”
Up next was Amy Sargeant as the freshman defeated Amanda Granson on court four with a 6-2, 6-3 victory to tie the score 2-2.
“Last week when we played Duke, Amy lost to the same opponent, and what a turnaround in one week’s time for Amy,” Coach Hyde said. “Today Amy played the most complete match she has played all year. It was great to see a freshman step up when it matters so much.”
Pushing Florida State in the lead with its third point was Jessica Sucupira on court six as the senior dominated Monica Gorny 6-3, 6-4.
“Jessie was a 100 percent ready to battle today,” Coach Hyde said. “When she makes up her mind she can beat anyone she steps on court with. We needed her senior leadership today and she got it done.”
In one of her biggest victories of her career, junior Katie Rybakova clinched the match for the Seminoles in an exciting three-set match. The ‘Nole opened with a 6-4 win over No. 72 Elizabeth Plotkin, but fell to the Blue Devil in the second set 6-4. In the third-set nail bitter Rybakova fought back against Duke’s force to take the match 6-3.
“For Katie to lose that second set and come back to have such a defining third set to clinch the match was great,” Coach Hyde said. “She played with a very mature mindset and she was decisive with her game plan. She stuck with what she does best in a very level headed way. It was great to see her clinch this match and help send our team on to the next round.”
For just the third time in FSU history, second time under Coach Hyde, the Seminoles conquered the defending National Champions Duke since their first meeting and win in 1983. The first time Coach Hyde led the ‘Noles past Duke was in 2007 when the squad posted a 4-3 score in Durham.
“I really like seeing the consistency in the program,” Coach Hyde added. “Our league is the best league in the nation and to make it to the semifinals for three years straight says a lot about the progress we’ve made and the consistency we have established. It’s not easy to do in this conference so we are certainly going to enjoy reaching another milestone. However, our work is not done. We are not satisfied. We want the next level.”
The Seminoles will face the Tar Heels for the second time in two weeks. In their first meeting of the season, UNC dominated FSU 4-0 at the Cone-Kenfield Tennis Center in Raleigh. With the victory, North Carolina became the leader in the all-time series record against Florida State 16-15 since the first match in 1982.
“We had a great match against UNC last weekend,” Coach Hyde said. “There were a couple spots that didn’t play too well and in doubles we just didn’t play how we are capable of playing. We have to approach doubles very differently this time and be a lot more commanding.”
As the strongest program in the NCAA, UNC will bring some of the nation’s top talent in No. 22 Sanaz Marand and No. 51 Katrina Tsang in addition to two ranked doubles’ pairs with No. 14 Sophie Grabinski and Marand and No. 29 Tsang and Shinnan Featherston.
Fans can keep up with Sunday’s match with live stats, daily photo galleries and video highlights and match recaps on www.seminoles.com, Facebook on the Florida State Women’s Tennis fan page and Twitter @ FSU_WTENNIS.
DOUBLES: 1, 3, 2*
1. McCreless/Segarelli def. No. 38 Granson/Nze 8-2
2. No. 53 Clayton/Gorny def. Sucupira/Suess 8-4
3. No. 81 Zsilinszka/Plotkin def. Rybakova/ Sargeant 8-3
SINGLES: 5, 1, 4, 6, 2*
1. No. 25 Lauren McCreless def. No. 38 Ellah Nze 6-2, 6-3
2. Katie Rybakova def. No. 72 Elizabeth Plotkin 6-4, 4-6, 6-3
3. No. 101 Francesca Segarelli vs. No. 35 Reka Zsilinszka DNF
4. Amy Sargeant def. Amanda Granson 6-2, 6-3
5. Mary Clayton def. Federica Suess 6-1, 6-1
6. Jessica Sucupira def. Monica Gorny 6-3, 6-4