Jan. 21, 2006
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Playing without two of its top players, the No. 11 Florida State men’s tennis team defeated Florida Atlantic University 5-2 to open its 2006 campaign on Saturday afternoon at the Scott Speicher Tennis Center. The Seminoles, who have not dropped an opening day match in five straight seasons, improved to 1-0 on the season, while the visiting Owls fell to 0-1.
“The guy I was most pleased with was probably Jason Hood,” said seventh-year Florida State head coach Dwayne Hultquist. “He came in and won quick and played with intensity. That is probably the best tennis he has played in college so I think his performance was the probably the highlight of the day. Also, with Jonathas Sucupira being injured, Sam Chang had to play not knowing that he was going to even compete today. I thought Sam did a great job.”
Sucupira, the 36th-ranked player in the nation, was unable to perform in neither singles nor doubles due to an undisclosed injury. His season status is unknown. Junior Ytai Abougzir, ranked No. 72 in singles, also did not perform.
Florida State captured the doubles point with three straight victories. At No. 1 doubles, Chang and senior Chris Westerhof overpowered the Owls’ David Domers and Kevin Oblez, 8-4. In the second spot, the 63rd-ranked team of Maciek Sykut and Andrew Bailey upended Mauricio Paiz and Gianfranco, 8-2. Hood and freshman Chris Cloer earned an 8-4 win over Akin Akman and J.P. Bounassar for the sweep.
“Chris and I played really well together,” said Hood, who recorded his first career dual victories in both singles and doubles today. “His game compliments my game. He is really quick and has a big serve so he is a great partner to compete with. I thought doubles went pretty smoothly. My return was a little shaky but overall I thought we did pretty well.”
In singles, Hood wasted no time at the No. 6 position and beat Akin Akman (6-2, 6-0) almost an hour before any of his teammates. Florida State’s third point came from 49th-ranked Chang at the top spot, who overcame Kevin Obletz, 6-1, 6-4. At the No. 2 court, Westerhof took care of David Demers (6-2, 6-3) and No. 58 Sykut registered a 6-4, 6-4 win against Gianfranco Dossena at court No. 4 for the Florida State victory.
“I had a lot of adrenaline,” Hood said. “It was my first match so I was very excited. I was hitting really big serves and I was playing really well. I was happy to be out there competing.”
The Owls got their first point of the afternoon when Bounassar rallied from dropping the first set 4-6 to Cloer to win 4-6, 7-5, 1-0 (7) at the third position. Florida Atlantic’s final point came when Mauricio Paiz defeated Bailey 6-3, 5-7, 1-0 (8) in the fifth stanza.
The Seminoles will take a week off before they return to the courts Saturday, Jan. 28, for a 2pm bout with Louisiana-Lafayette.
“As a team, we are really excited for the season,” Hood commented. “We are not overconfident…we knew we had to come out and play hard today to beat these guys. We are really thrilled that the season has finally started.”
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