March 4, 2011
By Zach Mendelson, Seminoles.com
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The No. 22 Florida State women’s tennis team (4-3, 1-1) will travel to play two in-state opponents in the No. 55 South Florida Bulls (2-7, 0-0) on Sunday, March 6 at noon and then follow with a match against the Central Florida Golden Knights (4-4, 1-0) on Wednesday, March 9 at 2pm.
“We are excited to get on the road and play two very good USF and UCF teams,” said head coach Jennifer Hyde. “We have had the luxury of a very nice home schedule so far this season, so we are looking forward to getting on the road and playing some good tennis.”
The Seminoles experienced both success and failure in the past two matches, defeating No. 15 Georgia Tech 5-2 on the road only to fall 6-1 to No. 1 Florida at home a few days later. The team is excited to bounce back from the Florida loss and get an opportunity to redeem themselves against another in-state foe.
“Our match with USF is a redemption match of sorts,” said Hyde. “Last season, USF came to our home courts and handed us a difficult 5-2 lost during our season opener. This team is very hungry to play USF again and make up for that missed opportunity from last season. I don’t think this team has forgotten about that loss. We have a little bit of extra motivation for that match.”
While the Seminoles are focused on South Florida’s match this weekend, they will have a quick turnaround playing in Orlando just three days later.
“Central Florida hired a new coach a few years ago, and that team has improved dramatically since,” said Hyde. “We expect a tough, gritty match against them as well,” said Hyde. “These in-state teams are always gunning for us, and we will be ready for them.”
“We played USF last year and lost to them, so we know it’s going to be a tough match,” added sophomore Francesca Segarelli. “We expect it to be a difficult match, and we are going to approach it that way. We are excited to play UCF as well. These are going to be two tough matches that we will be ready for and after a tough loss against UF we are motivated to play much better.”
One thing that will certainly help the Seminoles chances of coming home with two victories on this road trip will be the continued leadership from their two seniors.
“Katie is coming off a very solid win against a top 10 player, and to be honest, she did it by simply playing her game,” said Hyde. “She played very solid tennis and worked the points very well, and she did what she is capable of doing against anybody she steps on court with. It is great to see things come together for her, especially as we get one step closer to our ACC season. We are going to need a lot of leadership from both of our seniors (Katie and Fede) during this road trip and for the remainder of the year.”
Overall Florida State holds a 23-11 edge in the all-time series against South Florida. The series began in 1982 and the two teams last faced each in January of 2010 when the No. 15 Seminoles fell 5-2 to the No. 75 Bulls in Florida State’s home opener.
While the rivalry against South Florida has plenty of history to it, Florida State has only played Central Florida once in a dual match occurring in 2008 when the Seminoles defeated the Knights 7-0 during a February home match.
Following the matches against South Florida and Central Florida the team will return home to the Scott Speicher Tennis Center to face Georgia State on Thursday, March 17th at 12pm.
Follow the women’s tennis team all year on Twitter @FSU_WTENNIS and Facebook on the Florida State Women’s Tennis fan page.