April 15, 2004
GREENSBORO, N.C. –
This season Mat Cloer’s name became synonymous with the best players in the history of Florida State University men’s tennis. Now he’s adding his name to an elite list of illustrious players in the Atlantic Coast Conference. The junior became just the third player in conference history to repeat with the league’s top award as he was named ACC Player of the Year on Thursday (April 15).
During the 2003 season, Cloer (Brevard, N.C.) was the first player in FSU lore to earn ACC Player of the Year honors. He joins Virginia’s Brian Vahaly (2000-01) and David Caldwell (1994-96) of North Carolina to repeat as the loop’s top player.
“It’s a big honor, but I’ve got lot more that I want to accomplish,” Cloer said. “It’s great to get this award, but I’m looking forward to winning more things. I was happy I won the award last year, but I knew that I was going to have to work that much harder this year because everyone is going to be gunning for me.”
During the 2004 campaign Cloer has made his mark on a national level with several wins over some of the nation’s best players. He started his third season off with a bang by beating second-ranked Bo Hodge of Georgia. Overall he has nine victories over ranked players, including three versus the top 15. Cloer currently sits 18th in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association rankings.
“I learned that I have to bring my best game to the court every day,” Cloer added. “No matter who I was playing, I knew that I was always going to have to be ready. Any number one player in the ACC is going to be a great player and I have to be ready for every match.”
In only his third season in Tallahassee, Cloer has made his way up the Florida State career charts. He currently ranks third with 50 doubles victories and ninth at 69 singles triumphs. His total win tally of 119 places his ninth in Seminole lore.
On April 4, Cloer beat Georgia Tech’s Scott Schugg for his 20th victory of the season; making him just the sixth player to post at least 20 wins during their FSU career. The junior joined Paul Haarhuis and Stephen Noteboom as the only Seminoles to accomplish the feat in back-to-back seasons. The last two seasons Cloer has amassed 49 victories, tying him with Haarhuis for the second most in back-to-back season. Noteboom holds the mark at 58 wins during 1990-91.
“It’s hard anytime when you come back from a great season to duplicate the feat, but I think Mat has gotten better this year,” FSU head coach Dwayne Hultquist said. “A lot of guys have had a good year and come back the next and not work as hard, but Mat has continued to work on his game. As much as he has improved this year, there are still some things he can do to get better so hopefully he make another jump next year.”
The two-time Player of the Year and the 44th-ranked Seminoles open up play in the ACC Tournament on Friday (April 16) when they take on No. 10 Virginia at 3 p.m. in Raleigh, N.C.