May 15, 2005
LEXINGTON, Kent. – Florida State men’s tennis has produced Grand Slam champions, All-Americans and numerous professional players but never before has the program reached the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament. All of that changed Sunday as history was made when the No. 18 Seminoles upset No. 11 Kentucky, 4-2, to earn the school’s first trip to the final site.
The win gave the Tribe its first 20-win season in two decades as the Seminoles improved to 20-7 on the year. The Wildcats lost at home in the second round of the NCAA Tournament for the third year in a row and concluded their year at 21-10. The apprentice beat the master as FSU net boss Dwayne Hultquist started his coaching career as a graduate assistant to UK head coach Dennis Emery in 1991.
“That’s probably the biggest win in school history,” Hultquist proclaimed. “We beat Duke last year when they were No. 4, but that wasn’t in the NCAA Tournament. Winning and making it to the final site means a lot more to us.”
The first point wouldn’t be decided for an hour and a half as the two teams split at Nos. 2 and 3 doubles. The first point came down to the No. 1 match between the Seminoles’ Jeff Groslimond and Chris Westerhof vs. No. 4 doubles team in the country, Kentucky’s Jeff Witten and Tigran Martirosyan. The doubles’ point would be decided in a tie-breaker with the FSU tandem prevailing 9-8 (8).
Kentucky took the first two singles matches with No. 3 Witten beating No. 26 Mat Cloer at No. 1 and Martirsyan beating Westerhof at No. 4. Florida State rallied to win the next three matches with Jonathas Sucupira winning at No. 5, Ytai Abougzir taking No. 2 and senior Chip Webb clinching the match with his victory at No. 6.
Next up for the Seminoles will be a rematch with No. 5 Illinois on May 21st in College Station, Texas. Florida State lost to the Fighting Illini 5-3 on January 28th in Champaign, Illinois.