May 10, 2004
What you need to know: Who: #47 Florida State Men's Tennis What: NCAA Tournament versus #20 Arizona When: Saturday (May 15), 1 p.m. Where: Gainesville, Fla. (Linder Stadium at Ring Tennis Complex)
SEMINOLES TAKE FIRST STEPS TOWARDS NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP IN GAINESVILLE: Last season the Florida State University men’s tennis team ended a streak with its first appearance in the NCAA Tournament in five years. Now in 2004 the Seminoles have started another streak as they are in the national summit for the second year in a row. Florida State opens the first round of the Big Dance on Saturday (May 15) when it takes on #20 Arizona at 1 p.m. in Gainesville, Fla.
FSU AND ARIZONA SET FOR INAUGURAL MEETING: With as much success as Florida State and Arizona have had over the years, it’s hard to believe that this will be the first time the two schools have met on the court. The Seminoles have only played one school from the PAC-10 Conference with a pair of losses to Arizona State. Arizona boasts a 14-8 record after finishing fifth in the PAC-10 at 3-5. The Wildcats feature the No. 24 doubles team of Colin O’Grady and Roger Matalonga while Matalonga is ranked 77th in singles.
TOUGH SCHEDULE PROVES TO BE BENEFICIAL TO FLORIDA STATE: Florida State men’s tennis coach Dwayne Hultquist firmly believes that the best way to prepare his team is to play the top teams in the nation. The approach proved beneficial as the strength of the Seminoles’ schedule may have been a deciding factor in the Tribe reaching the NCAA Tournament.
GATORS AND GOLDEN KNIGHTS ROUND OUT REGIONAL: If the Seminoles get past the Wildcats, one of two instate schools will be waiting for Florida State. Playing in the 9 a.m. match on Saturday will be eighth-ranked Florida and No. 71 Central Florida. Earlier in the year the Seminoles lost 4-3 to the Gators in Gainesville, while defeating the Golden Knights 5-2.
CLOER BECOMES FIRST SEMINOLE INVITED TO CONSECUTIVE SINGLES DRAW: No matter the outcome of the Florida State-Arizona match, the Seminoles know they will have at least one representative in Tulsa, Okla. at the NCAA Championships. ACC Player of the Year Mat Cloer (Brevard, N.C.) has been selected for the singles draw of the NCAA Championships. FSU may have another entry as Jeff Groslimond (Atlanta, Ga.) and Chris Westerhof (Durban, South Africa) are alternates in the doubles draw.
IT’S DEJA VU ALL OVER AGAIN AS SEMINOLES HEAD TO GAINESVILLE AGAIN: It seems like the Tribe has been in this postseason situation before. When Florida State ended its five-year drought from the NCAA Tournament last year, it was rewarded with a trip down to the road to play in the rival Gators’ backyard. The Seminoles won their opening match 4-2 over Miami before dropping a 4-0 decision to Florida. The win over the Hurricanes was Florida State’s first in the NCAA Tournament since beating South Carolina 4-2 during the 1996 campaign.
FSU TRIES TO MAKE HISTORY WITH NCAA WIN TWO YEARS IN A ROW: Maybe traveling to Gainesville isn’t such a bad thing for the Seminoles. After all, Florida State got its first NCAA Tournament victory in seven years there when it beat the Hurricanes in 2003. In six NCAA appearances, the Seminoles have a 2-6 record with their only two wins coming in 2003 and 1996. Arizona is the first school FSU has played in the NCAA Tournament from west of the Mississippi river. In eight matches, the Seminoles have only played the same school twice – VCU (1995 & 1997).
Mat Cloer REPEATS AS ACC PLAYER OF THE YEAR: This season Mat Cloer’s name became synonymous with the best players in the history of Florida State. Now he’s adding his name to an elite list of illustrious players in the ACC. 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. He joins Virginia’s Brian Vahaly (2000-01) and David Caldwell (1994-96) of North Carolina to repeat as the loop’s top player. Currently 27th, Cloer has reached as high as 18th in the ITA rankings.
CLOER AND SUCUPIRA EARN ALL-ACC HONORS: Since taking over the program five years ago, Dwayne Hultquist has continued to raise the level of the program. The first symbol of this was the Seminoles’ victory over fourth-ranked Duke. The latest accomplishment by the Tribe is earning a pair of All-ACC selection as Mat Cloer and Jonathas Sucupira (Sao Paulo, Brazil) gave FSU its first multiple winners since 1995. Cloer is the first Seminole to repeat on the All-ACC list since Xavier Luscan was named in 2001-02.
GROSLIMOND AND WESTERHOF TAKE DOWN DOUBLES RECORD: In the final match of the regular season, Jeff Groslimond (Atlanta, Ga.) and Chris Westerhof (Durban, South Africa) needed just one more win to break the three-way tie atop the single-season doubles list. The No. 39 duo in the country produced the Seminoles’ lone win in doubles against Notre Dame as they beat Luis Haddock and Matthew Scott 9-7. The FSU tandem picked up win No. 26 in dramatic fashion as it battled back from a 7-4 deficit to win the match.
SEMINOLES FALLS 4-1 TO VIRGINIA AT ACC CHAMPIONSHIPS: It’s not the momentum builder the Tribe would have liked going into the NCAA Tournament, but they did show signs of improvement during the ACC Championships. For the second time this season, another close match went Virginia’s way as the number ten team in the country ousted FSU 4-1. The Cavaliers won the doubles point by taken the number one match in a tiebreaker. When the match ended, the Seminoles were leading the remaining two matches. FSU’s lone singles win came at No. 4 where Chip Webb (Chattanooga, Tenn.) prevailed 6-1, 6-1 over UVA’s Stephen Rozek