Feb. 19, 2008
Tallahassee, Fla.- History will hang in the balances for the No. 22-ranked Florida State women’s tennis squad Wednesday night when the Seminoles take on in-state rival No. 6 Florida Gators in Gainesville, Florida, at 5:00 p.m. Florida State’s current 7-0 record, the best start in program history, will be tested against a team the Seminoles have not beaten in 31 attempts since the program began in 1982.
“It’s never difficult to get hyped up for the Florida-Florida State rivalry match,” said head coach Jennifer Hyde. “It’s an easy match to be very engaged in. The girls are all very excited, especially after coming off a very close, 3-4 loss to them last year. We expect to go toe to toe and we’re really excited about an opportunity to play against a top ten opponent.”
Last season when the two teams met, it was the Gators who brought an undefeated streak to the table and the Seminoles who were tending to the wounds of a one-loss season. But the excitement of the rivalry match evened the playing field and gave the Seminoles their closest glimpse at victory in the match’s 25-year history.
“In comparison to last year, I think our line-up is a little bit deeper,” said Hyde. “We’re also a little more poised to face a team of this caliber.”
Between the two teams, Wednesday’s match will feature six players ranked in the ITA’s Top 75 including the Seminoles’ No. 16 Katie Rybakova, No. 60 Carolin Walter and No. 74 Tapiwa Marobela. Florida State’s No. 34-ranked doubles tandem of Rybakova and junior Ania Rynarzewska will be among the three ranked doubles teams battling it out inside Linder Stadium at the Ring Complex in Gainesville.
As for that daunting, 0-31 record?
“We’re just focusing on taking it one match at a time,” said Hyde. “The matches that are behind us, are behind us. We just want to build off the success we’ve had in the last month. We expect it to be a rowdy environment, but in the end this is what college tennis is all about. The girls are ready to lace their shoes up and put themselves out there. We’re ready to go.”