Tampa, Fla. – The 31st-ranked FSU men’s tennis team dropped its first match of the season Saturday in a 4-3 match at No. 13 USF (1-0). The Seminoles (3-1) won the doubles point for the third time this season, while freshman Aziz Dougaz and sophomore Terrance Whitehurst won singles matches.
FSU took an early 1-0 lead with a doubles win in convincing fashion. Dougaz and senior Michael Rinaldi won 6-2, moving to 3-0 on the year and 6-0 since Dougaz enrolled earlier this month. Clinching the match were seniors Benjamin Lock and Marco Nunez with a 6-3 win on Court 1.
Twin brothers Terrance and Terrell Whitehurst led 5-3 when the match was clinched.
In singles, Terrance Whitehurst won on Court 6, 6-3, 6-3, to give the Noles a 2-1 lead. Whitehurst trailed both sets 3-1 before reeling off five-consecutive games. After USF won on Courts 1 and 5 to grab a 3-2 lead, Dougaz won on Court 4 against Justin Roberts, 6-4, 3-6, 6-4. Dougaz rallied from a 2-0 third-set deficit to stay undefeated as a Seminole and tie the match at 3-all.
The final match came down to Rinaldi on Court 3. Rinaldi won the first set, 7-6 (7), before USF’s Sasha Gozun came back and won the second, 6-4. In the pivotal third set, Gozun broke three times to win 6-7 (7), 6-4, 6-1, and send the Bulls to Sunday’s regional championship.
Head coach Dwayne Hultquist:
“It was a great tennis match considering we were playing in pretty adverse cold and wind conditions. I was pleased with how we played doubles and Terrance did a great job today and has been good this spring. He showed a lot of maturity beating an experienced player.
“All the matches are important, but the match came down to Michael and I thought Gozun controlled more of the points in the latter part of the second and third sets. It would have been helpful for our team if one of our first set losses had come back and won the second set. That would have stretched the match out to our advantage.”
Hultquist on Sunday’s consolation match against No. 29 Mississippi State:
“We need to bounce back and get ready for a good MSU team. That will be an important match for us. We have to see if we can continue to grow as a team.”
– This was the first match against USF since the teams split a pair of matches in 2014.
– FSU leads the all-time series against USF, 26-22.
– Dougaz and Terrance Whitehurst remain undefeated in the spring. Dougaz is 4-0 in singles and 3-0 in doubles, while Whitehurst is 3-0 in singles. Both players also went undefeated in three singles matches in Hawai’i to open the season.
#31 Florida State will face #29 Mississippi State Sunday at 10:00 a.m. in the consolation match in Tampa, Fla. The teams last met in the NCAA Tournament in 2011.
For more information on Florida State tennis, 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).
No. 13 USF 4, No. 31 FSU 3
January 23, 2016 – USF Varsity Tennis Courts, Tampa, Fla.
#17 Roberto Cid (USF) def. #15 Benjamin Lock (FSU), 6-3, 6-1
Dominic Cotrone (USF) def. #77 Marco Nunez (FSU), 6-2, 6-2
Sasha Gozun (USF) def. Michael Rinaldi (FSU), 6-7 (7), 6-4, 6-1
Aziz Dougaz (FSU) def. Justin Roberts (USF), 6-4, 3-6, 6-4
Vadym Kalyuzhnyy (USF) def. Jose Gracia (FSU), 7-6 (5), 6-4
Terrance Whitehurst (FSU) def. Ignacio Gonzalez (USF), 6-3, 6-3
Lock/Nunez (FSU) def. Cotrone/Roberts (USF), 6-3
#55 Whitehurst/Terrell Whitehurst (FSU) vs. Gozun/Kalyuzhnyy (USF), 5-3, dnf
Dougaz/Rinaldi (FSU) def. Cid/Gonzalez (USF), 6-2
Order of Finish – Singles: 2,6,1,5,4,3; Doubles: 3,1