May 10, 2006 - by
No. 17 Men’s Tennis Opens NCAA Tournament Play Against Auburn Saturday

May 10, 2006


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Oxford Regional


 


Schedule of Events


NCAA First Round


No. 14 Ole Miss (20-5, 13-4 SEC) vs. Belmont (7-8)


Saturday, May 13 at noon (EDT)


 


No. 17 FSU (17-11, 8-3 ACC) vs. No. 44 Auburn (14-10, 4-8 SEC)


Saturday, May 13 at 3pm (EDT)


 


NCAA Second Round


Sunday, May 14 at 2pm (EDT)


Winners


 


Regional Information


Hosted by Ole Miss


Ole Miss has hosted 7 times in last 8 years


Palmer/Salloum Tennis Center – Oxford, Miss. 


Tickets:  (662) 915-7167 or toll-free 1-888-732-8587.


Single day tickets are $7 and a two-day pass is $10.


Live Stats: TBD


 


Weekend Weather


Saturday: Isolated thunderstorms


High: 75 degrees


 


Sunday: Partly cloudy



High: 70 degrees


 


FSU Fast Facts


Florida State‘s quest for back-to-back NCAA “Sweet Sixteen” and “Elite Eight” appearances begins this weekend as the No. 17 Seminoles travel to Oxford, Miss., to take on the No. 44 Auburn Tigers Saturday, May 13, at 3pm (EDT).  Florida State enters the match with a 17-11 overall record and an 8-3 Atlantic Coast Conference mark.  The Tigers are 14-10 on the season and finished SEC play with a 4-8 record.  No. 14 Ole Miss earned the right to host the regional with a 14th overall seed in the NCAA Tournament; the Rebels (20-5, 13-4 SEC) will battle Belmont (7-8) before the Auburn/FSU match at noon (EDT).  Winners of both matches will square off in the second round on Sunday, March 14, beginning at 2pm (EDT). 


 


Rankings Roll Call


 



  • The Seminoles are paced in singles by junior Ytai Abougzir, a 2006 first team All-ACC performer who is ranked No. 34 nationally.  This year has been a “coming-out” party of sorts for the Boca Raton, Fla., native as he has excelled in both singles and doubles competition on the national level.  Late last week Abougzir became the first Seminole in 12 years to be selected to participate in the singles and doubles competition of the 2006 NCAA Division I Men’s Tennis Championships.  Abougzir is 12-11 in dual matches, having faced 11 nationally ranked opponents, including seven players ranked in the top-20 in the nation. 

 



  • Abougzir, along with his senior partner Chris Westerhof, make up the No. 11-ranked duo in the nation.  The pair enters NCAA play having won seven straight matches.  To put in perspective how dominating this team has been the last two months, take in the fact that they started 11 straight weeks of the season without being ranked.  Thanks to an incredible 7-1 record against nationally ranked pairs, Abougzir and Westerhof quite frankly may be the hottest team in the nation right now.

 


 



  • Junior Jonathas Sucupira is the only other Seminole ranked in singles (No. 110) and considering he missed 12 matches this season with a broken hand, just to be back on the court is good news for the Sao Paula, Brazil, native. He is 9-7 in dual matches this season and is 2-2 against nationally-ranked players.  Sucupira is on fire right now, having won five of his last seven matches.

 


FSU’s Season In A Nutshell


Just being ranked 17th in the country is a pretty good spot for this team, especially considering the hole it dug itself to start the season. Injuries to No. 1 singles player Ytai Abougzir and No. 2 singles player Jonathas Sucupira forced Hultquist to scramble to put a lineup on the courts at the start of the season. FSU lost matches to lesser-ranked teams like Louisiana-Lafayette (ranked No. 47 at the time) and Nebraska (ranked 75th at the time).


“At one point we had three freshmen starting out of our six spots,” senior Chris Westerhof said. “That was tough on the team and we ended up with some losses that we probably shouldn’t have had. But then the freshmen improved a lot and they got used to playing college tennis and we started to overcome those injuries. We knew we’d be a good team if we were all healthy and I think we’ve sort of proven that now.”


That early season swoon saw FSU drop in the ITA poll from a preseason No. 11 ranking all the way to 38th by early February, but the Seminoles began a steady climb back to the nation’s elite thanks to some big wins late in the season. A win over then-No. 4 Duke on April 2 and a win over then-No. 10 North Carolina at the ACC tournament helped the Seminoles hit the Top 20 again.


The Seminoles At The NCAA Tournament


This is Florida State’s fourth-straight appearance in the Big Dance under Hultquist and the first four-peat for the Seminoles since its run of five consecutive trips from 1994-98.  Last season, the Seminoles advanced to the “Sweet Sixteen” and “Elite Eight” for the first time in school history.  Hultquist led his squad to an impressive 21-8 record and the Seminoles first trip to the Elite Eight in College State, Texas. They say in Texas that everything is bigger, including the upsets. That’s why when the No. 18 Seminoles walked away with an upset bid over No. 5 Illinois in the Sweet 16, a new precedent for the program was set. FSU ended the year with its highest-ever national ranking of No. 13. Now that Florida State is becoming a regular in the NCAA Tournament, it wants to start establishing a new tradition of winning. The Seminoles come into this weekend’s matches with a just a 5-8 mark in the NCAA Tournament. Florida State is 4-3 during its three trips under Hultquist.


 


A Look At FSU At The NCAAs The Last 3 Seasons


Year    W-L-T NCAA  NCAA Opponents    


2003   15-11  1-1     W vs. Miami (4-2), L vs. UF (4-0)            


2004   10-13  0-1     L vs. Arizona (4-3)            


2005   27-8   3-1     W vs. Ball State (4-0), W vs. UK (4-2), W vs. Ill. (4-2), L vs. UF (4-0)


 


Hultquist Nears 100-Win Milestone                    


 


Seven-year FSU net boss Dwayne Hultquist needs one more victory to reach a significant coaching milestone.  With 99 career victories, Hultquist needs one more to log win No. 100 at Florida State.  Furthermore, he needs two victories (tie with Randy Jobsen) to become the school’s third all-time winningest coach by victories. In 57 years of Florida State men’s tennis, only three other coaches have had 101-or-more wins including David Barron (141-85, 9 seasons), Richard McKee (129-65, 7 seasons) and Randy Jobson (101-62, 7 seasons).  With two more victories, Hultquist will join an elite group of Florida State men’s tennis coaches.


 


Back-To-Back Dominance


 


With a 17-11 overall record, the Seminoles need one more win to bolster the second-best school record in the last 11 years.  Last year’s quad finished with an impressive 21-8 record.  With a win over Auburn, the Seminoles’ 18-11 mark will be the second-most number of wins since the 1995 squad posted an 18-9 record. 


 


FSU Record Last 10 Years


2006                    17-11


2005                    21-8


2004                    10-13


2003                    15-11


2002                    12-10


2001                    10-14


2000                    14-10


1999                    13-10


1998                    17-8


1997                    16-12


1996        15-13


 


ITA Award Finalists


 


Florida State assistant coach Nick Crowell, junior Ytai Abougzir and rookie Maciek Sykut are all finalists for the 2006 ITA Mideast Region awards in their respective categories.  Crowell was nominated as the “Assistant Coach of the Year,” Abougzir is a finalist for the “Player To Watch” honor, and Sykut is a finalist for the “Rookie of the Year” award.  The regional award winners will be announced May 11. 


 


A Look At Auburn


 


Auburn, which is ranked 44th in the latest ITA ranking released on May 1, finished the season with an overall record of 14-10 and was 4-7 in Southeastern Conference play. The Tigers faced six opponents currently ranked in the top-25 this season, including No.1 Georgia. FSU holds the all-time series advantage over Auburn, 13-10, with the last meeting coming in 2001 when the Tigers knocked the Seminoles out of the first round of the NCAA Tournament (4-2). That was before lone senior Chris Westerhof was on the team and during Hultquist’s second year as the net boss at FSU.


 


The Tigers have been to the NCAA Tournament in 12 of the past 13 seasons, advancing out of the first round eight times. Auburn‘s deepest run in the tournament has been to the quarterfinals, last accomplished in 2002 when AU knocked off East Tennessee State, Mississippi State and Washington before falling to No. 4 UCLA. Last season in Oxford, Miss., Auburn knocked off Middle Tennessee State, 4-3, in the first round before falling to host and third-ranked Ole Miss, 4-1 (the Rebels went on to compete in the Final Four in 2005). The AU doubles duo of Gabor Zoltan Pelva and Alex Schweizer was a quarterfinalist last year in the NCAA Doubles Tournament and earned All-American honors for their performance.


 


The Tigers have two players ranked in singles, No. 105 Alex Schweizer and No. 109 Robbert Lathouwers.  The two of them switch off between the No. 1 and 2 positions. 


 


Chang, Chang, Chang


 


FSU sophomore Sam Chang is often compared to the Energizer Bunny, because, as the commercial goes, “…he keeps going and going.”  The 5-foot-7 native of Young-Ming, Taiwan, has played in an amazing 44 singles matches this season!  With a team-best 29-15 record, he needs just one more win to reach the 30-victory plateau.  Only four players in school history have recorded more victories than Chang during a single season.  The last to do so was current volunteer assistant coach, Mat Cloer, in 2003 as he went 29-12 that year.  In 2002, Romain Jurd had a 30-11 record, Joey Rive was 33-5 in 1983 and with the most wins, Stephen Notebroom was 36-8 in 1991. With one more win, Chang will have doubled his amount of wins compared to last season after finishing his rookie campaign with a 15-6 mark.  During his two year career at Florida State, Chang has recorded 44 victories and needs 48 more wins in the next two years to become the school’s all-time singles career leader.  Chang enters the NCAA Tournament having won four straight matches. 


 


Single Season 20-Match Win Club


 


Prior to this year, only 27 Seminoles have won 20-or-single-matches in a single season.  Two more can now be added to the list.  FSU sophomore Sam Chang is 29-19 this season in singles and freshman Maciek Sykut is an outstanding 23-13.  Senior Chris Westerhof, with a 19-12 record, needs just one more win to be added to the elite list for the second time in his career.  With a 17-12 record, freshman Chris Cloer needs three wins to reach the 20-win plateau.


 


Wild, Wild West


In all frankness, is there anywhere left for senior Chris Westerhof to stamp his name in the FSU record book?  For starters, he is the program’s best doubles player of all time by wins with 92 victories in his four-year tenure.  In fact, Westerhof has 13 more doubles wins than Ken McKenzie and Jason White who are second on the list.  Westerhof’s 159 career overall wins (career singles and doubles victories) ties him for third with Yvo Niks (1995-99) on the all-time FSU list. FSU great Brian Stanton is in second place with 160 wins and Westerhof needs two wins to move into solo position of the second slot.  Jason White tops the list with 171 career overall wins.  Out of breath yet?  Well, there is more.  With 67 career singles victories, Westerhof needs two more to rank in the top-10 of the career singles list.  He already owns the tandem single-season record (with former partner Jeff Groslimond) with 27 wins in 2005 and 26 victories in 2004.  With one more doubles victory, he and Ytai Abougzir’s 21 doubles wins will be enough to tie for ninth place all-time.  Whoo!  Got all of that?!


 


I Do Believe He Is Magic


 


FSU freshman Maciek “Magic” Sykut could quite possibly be the hottest singles player in the country right now.  The rookie out of Marathon, Fla., is 8-1 during the Seminoles’ last 11 matches and enters the NCAA Tournament having won three straight matches.    Six of those 11 matches went into three-set marathons. 


 


`Chris’-tmas Presents


 


Florida State freshman Chris Cloer has presented his team with a gift at the No. 6 position as of late.  The rookie from Brevard, N.C., is 8-2 in his last 10 matches and is an impressive 11-5 in the sixth slot.  After starting out the year losing six of his first eight matches, Cloer turned up the heat from that point on and went 13-5 the rest of the season.


 


The Seminoles By The Numbers


 


69.2 percent


The percent of matches the team wins at No. 3 singles, making it the most reliable spot in the lineup.  The No. 6 position is second, with the team winning 61.5 percent of its matches there.


 


4


The longest win streak by the team this season (NC State, Wake Forest, Boston College, UNC)


 


9


Number of teams from the ACC that reached the NCAA Tournament, making it the best conference in the nation.


 


11


Number of straight matches Ytai Abougzir has been ranked in singles.


 


8-5


The score of the match when Ytai Abougzir and Chris Westerhof defeated the No. 1 duo in the nation (Green/Wilson) on March 4, 2006.


 


10


Number of singles players, including Abougzir, from the ACC that qualified for the NCAA Singles Championship.


 


6


Number of doubles teams, including the Abougzir/Westerhof pair, from the ACC that qualified for the NCAA Doubles Championship. 


 


4


Number of straight singles matches sophomore Sam Chang has won entering the NCAA Tournament


 


1


Number of times the Seminoles have been to the “Sweet Sixteen” and/or “Elite Eight”


 


4


Number of daughters FSU head coach Dwayne Hultquist has.  He and his wife Angela welcomed their fourth child (Mackenzie) into the world during March of this year. 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


  


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 

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