May 5, 2004
Tallahassee, FL – The No. 27 Florida State women’s tennis squad learned Wednesday, May 5, 2004, that it will face Marshall in Nashville, TN in the first round of the 2004 NCAA Division I Women’s Tennis Tournament. The Seminoles will square off against the Thundering Herd next weekend, May 14-16, when the tourney kicks off at host school Vanderbilt University. FSU (17-7) is a number two seed in the bracket while Marshall (22-4) is a three seed.
“I think they’re a pretty good team,” said eighth-year head coach Lise Gregory. “We have to make sure we’re ready for them. I think it will be a fun match and we’re going to go in with the mindset that anyone can win, especially at this point.”
Marshall, currently ranked No. 55 in the ITA poll, won the 2004 Mid American Conference Championships, regular and postseason. The Thundering Herd lost only four times during the course of the regular season coming at the hands of Kentucky, South Carolina, Long Beach State and the ACC’s Virginia.
Junior Mihaela Moldovan (Bucharest, Romania/Emil Racovita) leads the Tribe in singles wins with 24. Senior Christina Denny (Canton, Ohio/Bradenton Academy) is second with 17 wins followed by fellow senior Anca Dumitrescu (Bucharest, Romania/VCU) and freshman Roxanne Clarke (Cape Town, South Africa/Clapham), who are tied with 16 apiece. Dumitrescu, paired with newcomer Lindsay Deason (St. Petersburg, FL/Boca Raton Prep), lead the Tribe in doubles victories with 14, many out of the number two position.
The 2004 season was a stellar campaign for the Seminoles, which included an upset of No. 9 UNC and narrow 4-3 losses to No. 3 Duke and No. 21 Clemson, the 2004 ACC Women’s Tennis Champion. Moldovan demolished her competition, picking up 24 consecutive victories, setting school records and etching her name atop the FSU singles win list.
The senior class became the glue for a talented lineup that climbed its way from a season-opening No. 54. Dumitrescu and Denny had career seasons in singles and doubles, with Dumitrescu bettering her singles mark of 14 dual match wins and 12 doubles victories to 16 and 14 with at least one more match remaining in the season. Denny’s 17 wins were two more than her 2001-02 season totals and her 2003-04 mark of 12 doubles matches is one shy of her career high of 13 (2001-02).
The rookies even staked their claim with Clarke and Deason posting double digit wins in both singles and doubles and playing over 20 matches apiece.
Head coach Lise Gregory was named the 2004 ACC Women’s Tennis Coach of the Year. FSU’s all-time winningest women’s tennis head coach, with a career record of 118-82, was awarded the honor for the second time in her career. During the 1998-99 season, when Gregory won the award for the first time, the Tribe had two 30-match singles winners.
The 2002-03 season was the first time since 1995, Florida State did not make the NCAA tournament. In 2002, the Seminoles lost to Virginia Commonwealth University – Dumitrescu’s former school – in the first round of the south regional. Dumitrescu went to the NCAA Singles Championship that same year, losing to Agara Ciorich from Georgia in the first round.
“Last year we were borderline,” continued Gregory. “It’s nice to know we were definitely going – it’s just a matter of what kind of region we’re in and who we’re going to face. Last year, it wasn’t acceptable to not make it.
Fellow conference school No. 15 UNC is also in the bracket and the potential to for a rematch of the regular season Seminole upset could come during the round of 16, right before the team moves on to the quarterfinal match in Athens, GA.
Dumitrescu and Moldovan will learn tomorrow if they will be seeded in the individual NCAA singles tournament. The pairings will be announced Thursday, May 6, 2004.