April 24, 2011
By Zach Mendelson, Seminoles.com
CARY, N.C. – The Florida State women’s tennis team (15-8, 10-4) magical run towards their first ever ACC Championship ended in heartbreaking defeat to No. 5 North Carolina (23-5, 11-2) on Sunday, April 24 at the Cary Tennis Center. The Seminoles, who began the tournament as the five seed and one of seven ACC teams ranked inside the ITA’s top 20, won a season’s best eight matches before having their winning streak snapped by the Tar Heels as they lost 4-3.
“I saw warriors out there all weekend and I saw a team playing with one heartbeat from start to finish,” stated head coach Jennifer Hyde. “Although this loss stings and will for while, I could not be more proud of this team, and we have absolutely no reason to hang our heads in defeat. Our belief runs deep and there is still so much tennis ahead of us. I see no limits to what this team can accomplish in the NCAA Championships. I am so proud.”
“I know that we did not win the ACC title today, but there is no doubt that the Florida State University was represented on court today by a group of true Champions,” continued Hyde. “They competed all week at a level that was incomparable to any team I’ve ever seen. This includes my recollection of my senior year as a Seminole competing for the first ACC title back in 1994. I am humbled and proud to be among a group of such classy and competitive athletes.”
It appeared it would be the Seminoles’ day as they came right out of the gates swinging with sophomore Francesca Segarelli (Rome, Italy) and freshman Ruth Seaborne (London, England) defeating the Tar Heels’ tandem of Tessa Lyons and Jelena Durisic to give Florida State their first victory in doubles. Senior Katie Rybakova (Coral Springs, Florida) and sophomore Amy Sargeant (Walsall, England) then defeated UNC’s Gina Suarez-Malaguti and Zoe De Bruycker 8-4 on court three as the Seminoles took a 1-0 lead heading into singles.
Seniors Federica Suess (Ludwigshafen, Germany) and Noemie Scharle (Colmar-Berg, Luxembourg) did not finish their match against the Tar Heels No. 6 duo of Shinann Featherston and Lauren McHale on court one.
Once singles began the momentum quickly turned in favor towards the Tar Heels as they won the next three points on courts one, two and five to take a 3-1 lead. The Seminoles were not about to go down without a fight as Sargeant fought back after losing the first set to defeat Tessa Lyons 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 on court six to give the Seminoles their second point.
Coming down to third set battles on courts three and four, talented freshman Seaborne fought back and forth with UNC’s Lauren McHale and eventually pulled out the victory 6-3, 5-7, 6-0 on court four to tie the match at 3-3.
With the momentum back on their side, Florida State had a fighting chance but needed No. 56 Scharle to pull out a victory over No. 93 Shinann Featherstone in a third set tie breaker. The tiebreaker went Featherston way and the Tar Heels snapped the Seminoles eight match winning streak, all of them coming against conference opponents including four victories over top 11 opponent’s during that stretch. Quite the feat considering the ACC is widely regarded the deepest and most talented conference in the nation.
“This team has battled so much adversity over the last four months,” continued Hyde. “And still, they found a way to come together and play through the challenges, and more importantly, they discovered the power in playing for each other. This manifested itself in the eight consecutive wins which led them to the finals of the ACC Championship, exactly where they belonged. I think everyone in our conference would agree that the ACC is the deepest, most talented conference in the country. So, for us to come from No. 37 in the nation to beating four top 11 nationally ranked teams in our conference speaks volumes about the Warpath this team is on right now.”
The Seminoles will now await the NCAA selection committee to find out their seeding. As always, fans can follow the team on Seminoles.com, as well as the women’s tennis page on facebook and on twitter at FSU_WTENNIS.
No. 2 Seed North Carolina 4 d. No. 5 Seed Florida State 3
1) No. 6 Featherston/McHale (UNC) vs. Scharle/Suess (FSU) DNF
2) Segarelli/Seaborne (FSU) def. Durisic/Lyons (UNC) 8-3
3) Sargeant/Rybakova (FSU) def. Suarez-Malguti/De Bruycker (UNC) 8-4
Order of finish: 2, 3*, DNF
1) No. 11 Zoe De Bruycker (UNC) def. No. 35 Katie Rybakova (FSU) 6-2, 6-1
2) No. 105 Jelena Durisic (UNC) def. Francesca Segarelli (FSU) 6-2, 4-6, 6-2
3) No. 93 Shinann Featherston (UNC) def. No. 56 Noemie Scharle (FSU) 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (7-4)
4) Ruth Seaborne (FSU) def. Lauren McHale (UNC) 6-3, 5-7, 6-0
5) Gina Suarez-Malaguti (UNC) def. Federica Suess (FSU) 6-2, 6-0
6) Amy Sargeant (FSU) def. Tessa Lyons (UNC) 4-6, 6-3, 6-3
Order of finish: 1, 4, 2, 6, 4, 3*