May 5, 2004
Tallahassee, FL – Junior Mihaela Moldovan is unlike any other Seminole in women’s tennis history. She’s unlike any other Florida State student-athlete. She’s unlike anyone in school history – she’s perfect.
She’s 24-0 on the singles court and boasts a 4.0 GPA in the classroom. The Bucharest, Romania native is the perfect example of the equilibrium between student and athlete.
“I just keep in mind – one step at a time, one match at a time, it doesn’t matter who you play,” said the second-year Seminole. “I start a match and I don’t think – ‘I’m going to win’. At certain times, thoughts (about her winning streak) do come to you and it becomes hard to reject them. Those are the times I get frustrated. I try to get rid of them and then I’m ok. After that, I can continue on the court.”
Oft times Moldovan is the first finished on the court. The Bucharest, Romania native has gone to a third set tiebreaker in just three of 24 matches – against Nathalie Koppelle of No. 28 Alabama, #32 Julie Rotondi of then-No. 2 and defending champion Florida and Jenny Kuhn of then-No. 27 Tulane. Those big wins, coupled with her domination at the number two position, have earned her single season rankings as high as #47 in the country. Currently, Moldovan sits at #49 after a two week break following the 2004 Atlantic Coast Conference Women’s Tennis Championships.
The first-time All-ACC honoree shredded the Seminole record books in just two short seasons in Tallahassee. She became the first Seminole to finish the regular season undefeated – posting 24 singles wins against no losses. Moldovan is tied for most dual match single season wins with Kia Asberg who picked up 24 in 1999. Moldovan has the best single season winning percentage in school history, currently at 1.000. Including her 7-4 fall season (2003-04) record, she is 31-4 for the season, only the third player to reach 30 singles wins in Seminole history. The 31 wins is tied for first place overall with former Tribe member Marina Raic, who went 31-9 in 1998-99.
The 2004 team MVP boasts a career record of 48-11, including a 7-1 record at the number one position in 2003. Moldovan is on pace to position herself in the top five in most career singles wins.
Moldovan, in addition to being named the 2003 NCAA South Region Rookie of the Year, was also named the 2003 Golden Torch Award winner after compiling a 4.0 GPA, to lead all Seminole female student-athletes. She is a member of the women’s tennis squad that won the team award for highest GPA.
Despite the record-breaking season, she takes it all in stride and more importantly is concerned about the team winning. Working with eighth-year head coach Lise Gregory has improved her game and brought out the potential both Gregory and fellow court mate and longtime friend Anca Dumitrescu saw in her.
“Coach helps me a lot,” said Moldovan, praising the former All-American from Miami. “When she sees I’m in trouble, she comes over to your court right away. She knows what to say, when to you need her, when to leave you alone. She knows every player she coaches and what works. She’s a great coach, one of the best I know.”
Dumitrescu was instrumental in Moldovan’s start at FSU. The pair grew upplaying tennis together in Romania. Moldovan looked to Anca when she started to consider playing tennis in the United States.
“Anca came home for summer and I asked her how she liked Florida State,” said Moldovan. “She loved it here and thought I would too. I talked to Coach (Gregory) and had good feelings about the program so I decided to come over.”
With all the attention on her amazing singles game, Moldovan is also one of the top doubles players on the team. She has spent the season paired with freshman Roxanne Clarke playing out of the number one seed.
“I like playing with Rox,” Moldovan laughed. “We go out and have fun. Plus we compliment each other very well. We try and balance each other out. If I’m quiet and she’s pumped up, then she helps to pump me up. If she’s ever down, I can settle her down. She’s really good and very nice.”
The tandem have had a great season, tallying 13 wins out of the number one position. The two have shown flashes of their potential including a 9-8(2) win over then-#23 Aniela Mojzis and Kendall Cline from then-No. 9 UNC. The win was instrumental in taking the doubles point from the higher-ranked, conference opponent en route to the upset for the Seminoles. Against No. 21 Clemson, Clarke and Moldovan almost took the doubles point and the team victory for FSU, but narrowly lost 9-8(5)to Alix Lacelarie and Julie Coin, both players in the top 30 in doubles in the country.
“Playing number one isn’t new to me,” Moldovan explained. “I have some experience, between playing at home and here, at the top.”
“I like doubles a lot and have played with others on the team,” Moldovan continued. “It’s good because I switched partners last season and in the fall so I know all of my partners.”
Awards and records aside, Moldovan has her sights set on bigger and better things. The junior was recently accepted into the public relations program at Florida State University which brings her one step closer to her eventual career goal, public relations work in her native country.
“I want to go back home and work in the Romanian government or an embassy.”