March 30, 2006
Florida State vs. No. 4 Duke
Sunday, April 2
Friday: The first 100 fans in attendance will receive a free foam tomahawk. This Sunday’s match is “Children in Action Sport and Exercise Health Day” at men’s tennis. We will have the inflatable games set up and tons of activities for kids to enjoy. Join us for an exciting day at FSU Tennis. All matches are held at the Scott Speicher Tennis Center and admission is FREE!
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida State men’s tennis team has the ability to be in first place in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) race at weekend’s end – if the No. 27 Seminoles can pull off upsets over No. 8 North Carolina and No. 4 Duke Friday and Sunday at Scott Speicher Tennis Center.
The Seminoles (11-8, 4-1 ACC), led by junior standout Ytai Abougzir who is ranked No. 65 in singles and No. 37 in doubles, host the Tar Heels (17-1, 2-1 ACC) Friday, March 31, at 5:30 p.m. The Blue Devils (11-3, 3-0 ACC) roll into Tallahassee on Sunday for a noon contest. The event was originally scheduled for 1pm before team travel plans forced the match to start an hour early.
“There is no doubt that the ACC is the top tennis conference in the country,” FSU head coach Dwayne Hultquist said. “If you look at the rankings, the ACC has six teams in the top-25 and then we are ranked No. 27. So, I think to have seven schools in the top-30 in the country speaks volumes about our league. This weekend will determine who is going to be the top contenders in the conference race.”
FSU is arguably playing its best tennis of the season, winning six of its last eight matches. In fact, of the two losses during the month of March, the Seminoles were edged by a narrow 4-3 margin to No. 17 Texas A&M and No. 18 Notre Dame.
“I think we are playing better,” Hultquist commented. “We have three freshmen competing regularly and they are improving each week and then we have junior Jonathas Sucupira back from his injury. I believe as the year goes on, we are playing a lot better as a team.”
While tennis is a team sport, it is hard to ignore the recent success of Abougzir, who competes at the No. 1 singles spot in the lineup. He has emerged as one of the top players in the ACC and has an impressive 4-1 record in conference and has won five straight matches. In fact, Abougzir is 7-3 in his last 10 dual matches with upsets over four top-100 players during the last month, including No. 13 Stephen Bass (3-6, 6-4, 6-1) from Notre Dame on March 14.
“I started the season out 3-3,” Abougzir said, “so I began working out with our assistant coach Nick Crowell every morning. I started playing freely and the hard work is paying off right now. I feel like I pretty much have nothing to lose and it has just been fun.”
Abougzir isn’t the only Seminole with a 4-1 ACC record in singles; ironically his doubles partner and the lone senior on the team, Chris Westerhof, sports an identical singles mark competing in the middle of the lineup.
As a pair, Abougzir and Westerhof are ranked No. 37 in doubles with a 9-6 dual match record at the top spot.
The Seminoles are coming off of two 6-1 victories over Boston College and No. 68 Maryland, while the Tar Heels picked up a 5-2 win against No. 32 Georgia Tech and a 4-3 victory against No. 14 Clemson last weekend. North Carolina’s only loss of the season was a 4-3 defeat at No. 25 Wake Forest on March 21.
The Seminoles and Tar Heels have faced three common opponents: Clemson, Notre Dame and South Carolina. UNC was perfect against the teams, while FSU fell by just one point (4-3) to the Irish.
As for Duke, the Blue Devils dropped just their third match of the season yesterday (March 29) at No. 15 Virginia Commonwealth University, 4-3. The Seminoles and Blue Devils have faced six teams in common this season: Baylor, Clemson, Illinois, Notre Dame, Pepperdine and Texas A&M. Duke went 4-2 against these teams, while the Seminoles were 1-5.
Florida State Rankings/Notes
North Carolina Rankings/Notes