May 3, 2011
By Zach Mendelson, Seminoles.com
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Despite being nationally seeded, the No. 12 ranked Florida State women’s tennis team (15-8, 10-5 ACC) will travel for the first and second rounds of the 2011 NCAA Tournament held next weekend at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center on the campus of Texas A&M in College Station, Texas. The first round features the Seminoles facing Southern University (12-9) at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, May 14, with No. 31 Texas A&M (15-8) and No. 32 Southern Methodist (21-5) slated to start at 12 p.m. The winner of both matches will battle on Sunday, May 15, at 1 p.m. in the second round.
“We knew it was a possibility that we wouldn’t host even though we had very well earned our way into the top 16 in the rankings” said head coach Jennifer Hyde. “Our region and the southeastern portion of the country are so strong, with many teams who are also inside the top 16 and capable of hosting. It was inevitable that a few schools were going to be shipped off and it’s unfortunate we happen to be one of those teams. However when looking ahead at the draw we have at Texas A&M, I think it’s a very favorable draw and a decent path heading into the championships.”
Coming off an impressive showing at the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship by making their second ACC Championship Title Match appearance and fourth-consecutive semifinal appearance, FSU will face the Southern Jaguars (11-12) in the first round.
“I think this team believes, probably more now than ever, that we can beat anyone we step on court with,” said Hyde. We might have struggled with that belief earlier in the season, but I think having come from being ranked as low as No. 37 in the nation a few weeks ago to within a point of winning an ACC Championship a little over a week ago, this team feels like they are capable of anything. And now we have an even greater cause after being denied the right to host. We will be ready to get to Texas and get this NCAA Championship started.”
This marks the first ever match between the two schools. Southern has won back to back Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) championships and makes their second straight NCAA appearance. Overall the Lady Jaguars have won the SWAC in six out of the last nine years.
Florida State has a little more history against the Aggies and Mustangs. FSU leads the all-time series against the Texas A&M, 2-0 winning in back to back season in 1994-95. The Aggies women’s tennis team has reached the NCAA’s 11 straight years. The Seminoles also hold a 3-2 all-time series lead against SMU with the most recent match dating back to 1992 when head coach Jennifer Hyde was an athlete for Florida State. This marks SMU their third straight NCAA Championship selection as the Mustangs have advanced to the second round each of the past two years.
Overall this marks the Seminoles 15th all-time NCAA appearance. Florida State looks to utilize No. 31 Katie Rybakova (Coral Springs, Fla.) and No. 51 Noemie Scharle (Colmar-Berg, Luxembourg). If successful in rolling past the Jaguars, FSU will make its fifth all-time appearance in the second round of the tournament.
A league record-tying nine Atlantic Coast Conference teams, including seven of the 16 national seeds, will participate in the 2011 NCAA Women’s Tennis Championship. The Seminoles’ tough schedule this season will prepare the squad to face elite competition in the tournament. In total, FSU has defeated 11 opponents currently ranked by the ITA including No. 3 Duke (twice), No. 4 North Carolina, No. 11 Virginia (twice), No. 16 Georgia Tech, No. 33 Maryland, No 46 Boston College, No. 50 Princeton, No. 55 Georgia State, No. 58 Virginia Tech, No. 59 Wake Forest (twice) and No 64 Florida International.
“This gives us a little extra fire in our bellies and a little chip on our shoulders for not being selected to host these first two rounds of the NCAA Championships,” Hyde said. “This team has more than earned that right but obviously there was a different plan for us. As we sit back and take a more objective look at the big picture, we see that this is the path we are on now, and the matches in front of us will be dealt with one day at a time.”
Seminole fans can follow the team on Facebook on the Florida State women’s tennis fan page and Twitter @FSU_WTennis.
NCAA Tennis Championships: 1st/2nd Round Schedule
(George P. Mitchell Tennis Center, College Station, TX.)
Saturday, May 14
9:00 a.m. Women’s First Round: Florida State vs. Southern
12:00 p.m. Women’s First Round: Texas A&M vs. SMU
Sunday, May 15
1:00 p.m. Women’s Second Round Match