SOUTH BEND, Ind. – The No. 13 Florida State men’s tennis team (25-2, 9-1 ACC) heads home to finish up the regular season after coming up big in the important moments in a 4-3 win over No. 28 Notre Dame (14-12, 5-5 ACC).
“If you look at what happened at today’s match it was a lot about playing good at big moments,” said head coach Dwayne Hultquist. “I think we did that today. Aziz was down four set points to go to a third set and came up big at both of those stages. Jose was down breakpoint serving for the match at 5-4 and got a service winner. I just felt like at the big moments we played well.”
The Seminoles got out of the gate a little slow again as they surrendered the doubles point for the third time in the last four matches. Redshirt senior Lucas Poullian and senior Terrell Whitehurst was the first pair to fall as they lost 6-1 on court three. Senior Guy Iradukunda and junior Aziz Dougaz were the next to fall as they lost 6-3 on court one.
Florida State flipped the script in singles play taking four of the six courts. It got started with sophomore Alex Knaff on court five. He was down 1-2 early but came back to take the first set 6-3. He never trailed in the second set on his way to a 6-4 win. Redshirt senior Jose Gracia followed Knaff up by winning by the same score on court four to give the Garnet and Gold their first lead of the match.
The Fighting Irish tied things up on court two taking the match from Iradukunda. After losing the first Iradukunda battled in the second before losing in a tiebreaker.
With the match tied up at two. Poullain and Dougaz stepped up for the Noles. Poullain gave Florida State a 3-2 lead with a win on court three. The first set was back in forth as Poullain took it in a tiebreaker. In the second set, he went down 1-0 before turning it around to not trail for the rest of the set on his way to a 6-4 second set win.
Dougaz came up big on court one earning his fourth win against a ranked opponent this spring. He trailed early in the first set, but down 5-4 he turned it around to win three straight games and take the set 7-5. He once again had to make a comeback in the second set as he was down 5-4 again. Dougaz tied it up at six and took down No. 36 Alex Lebedev in the tiebreaker.
With the match already clinched, Notre Dame took court six from sophomore Rana-Roop Singh Bhullar 6-7, 6-7.
Florida State will be back home to finish up the regular season as they take on North Carolina Friday, April 20th at 5:30 p.m. and Duke Sunday, April 22nd at 1 p.m. for senior day and a chance at the programs first regular season ACC title. Both matches will be broadcasted on the ACC Network.
“There are some great opportunities for us next week, said Hultquist. “It is going to be a fun environment. I am sure we will have a really good crowd. We play two really good teams in North Carolina and Duke and it is a really exciting opportunity for us.”
“It is a great feeling to be in first in the ACC and only have two losses at this point in the season,” said Gracia. “It is great to be playing to good teams as my final home matches. It is a good opportunity.”
#13 Florida State 4, #28 Notre Dame 3
Florida State 25-2, 9-1 ACC; National ranking #13
Notre Dame 14-12, 5-5 ACC; National ranking #28
Order of finish: Doubles (3,1); Singles (5,4,2,3,1)
Records to Watch:
To keep up with the Seminoles, check Seminoles.com for the latest news and scheduling information, or keep up with the team on social media through Twitter (@FSU_MTennis), Facebook (/FSUMTennis), and Instagram @FSU_MTennis).