March 2, 2006
The No. 30 Seminoles (5-5) return to action this week when they host their biggest match of the season thus far against No. 12 Ohio State (10-1) on Saturday (noon) at Scott Speicher Tennis Center. The return of junior Jonathas Sucupira will perhaps put Florida State back in the Top 25 in the next few weeks. Sucupira, who entered the season ranked No. 36 in the country before suffering a hand fracture, competed in doubles action last weekend and will likely play in his first singles match of the year on Saturday. FSU is led statistically by sophomore Sam Chang (ranked No. 98) who enters the match with a team-best 17-10 overall record and a 5-4 dual mark. Freshman Maciek Sykut (12-9 overall) and senior Chris Westerhof (10-6 overall) follow Chang with a 5-3 dual record, respectively. The Seminoles are 14-12 overall in dual doubles matches this year with junior Ytai Abougzir and Westerhof owning a team-high 4-2 dual and 8-2 overall record. The freshmen team of Sykut and Andrew Bailey are 14-8 on the season and 6-3 in dual play. Live results of the FSU/Ohio State match are located on the men’s tennis page at Seminoles.com.
“I think this is the match we need to get all our supporters out there rooting for us,” Coach Dwayne Hultquist said. “We are playing better as the year goes on. I believe the Alabama match was probably our best match as a team. Now we are going to have Jonathas back and it looks like he is going to be able to play this weekend. So this is the first match we’ve had our entire team and now is the opportunity for us to get on a roll and win a bunch of matches.”
IN THE POLLS:
For the second week in a row, FSU vaulted up four spots in the latest ITA-Fila National Rankings thanks to a win over Alabama a strong strength of schedule. The Seminoles went from No. 34 polls to No. 30 this week. All five of Florida State’s losses on the season have come against ranked opponents, including three teams ranked in the top-20 in the nation (at the time of competition). The Seminoles fell to No. 2 Pepperdine, No. 9 Baylor, No. 18 Miami, No. 37 Louisiana-Lafayette and No. 59 Nebraska. Florida State has quality wins over No. 31 South Carolina, No. 47 Penn, No. 51 Alabama and No. 68 Furman. A victory against Ohio State would hand FSU its second top-15 win in as many weeks.
INDIVIDUALS IN THE RANKINGS:
The Tribe started the season with four players ranked in singles but since then all but two have dropped out of the national spotlight. Sucupiras began the season at No. 36 but because he has not competed this year, officials dropped him to No. 100. Chang fell from No. 49 to No. 98. Sykut (then-No. 68) and Abougzir (then-No. 72) are no longer ranked.
SCOUTING OHIO STATE:
The No. 12 Ohio State men’s tennis team will bring a 10-1 record to Tallahassee Saturday. The Buckeyes return to action after falling to No. 26 Notre Dame 5-2 last Friday in South Bend, Ind. OSU rebounded by beating No. 20 Virginia Commonwealth 5-2 Sunday in Richmond, Va. The loss against the Irish was Ohio State’s first of the year. The OSU tandem of seniors Scott Green and Ross Wilson are ranked No. 1 in the ITA Division I polls released Feb. 22. Green and Wilson are undefeated at 10-0 in duals matches this season. The duo posted a fall tournament record of 6-1. Green and Wilson became only the third doubles team in NCAA history to win three national championships. As for singles play, Devin Mullings is ranked No. 42 and Bryan Koniecko is No. 46.
FSU VS. OSU SERIES:
Saturday’s match will be the fifth all-time meeting between Florida State and Ohio State with the Seminoles owning a 3-1 record. The teams last met during the 1990-91 season with the Buckeyes winning 5-4. The Seminoles’ last victory over the Buckeyes was in 1982-83 by a 5-4 score.
WILD, WILD WEST:
Florida State senior Chris Westerhof recorded his 80th career doubles victory this past weekend when he teamed with junior Ytai Abougzir to defeat Alabama’s No. 1 team during FSU’s 5-2 victory. With the win, Westerhof become Florida State’s all-time doubles leader. He and his former doubles partner Jeff Groslimond recorded 71 wins together.
ALL ACCESS PASS:
Fans interested in keeping up with the Florida State men’s tennis team this season can read journal entries logged each week by senior Chris Westerhof located on the sidebar of the men’s tennis page. Westerhof updates these entries each Monday. In store next week is updates to “A to Z” and “Road Trip: FSU Style” feature stories. Furthermore, Seminoles.com will soon add a poll to its page so fans can vote on a nickname for junior Sam Chang. Check back for more updates!
The Florida State men’s tennis team will spend its Spring Break on the road next week with trips at South Florida (March 6 / 2pm), Rice (March 8 / 4pm) and Texas A&M (March 9 / 7pm ). The Seminoles return home for their second ACC match of the season on March 12 at 1pm.
Florida State is 70-60 overall in singles on the season and 25-26 in dual matches (singles).
In duals, the Seminoles have the best record at the No. 2 and 3 spots. FSU is 5-3 at the second and third positions; All other slots have a below .500 record.
Versus ranked opponents, Florida State’s doubles teams are 10-5.
The Seminoles have featured six different duo combinations on the year.
Florida State head coach Dwayne Hultquist needs 14 more wins to become the school’s third all-time leading coach by victories.