Jan. 13, 2012
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The No. 44 Florida State’s men’s tennis team starts the 2012 season this weekend with a Saturday afternoon bout with No. 74 North Florida then follow it up on Monday with a doubleheader against Florida A&M and Troy. The Seminoles have won the first match of the year the past 10 seasons and look to continue that at 1p.m. on Saturday.
“We’ve been talking about starting the season for a long time to get prepared and ready,” said head coach Dwayne Hultquist. “The guys have had a pretty good offseason and preseason. They’re ready to go and ready to play someone other than themselves.”
The Seminoles are an all-time 42-22 on the first match of the season. Florida State is 8-1 all-time against North Florida but has not faced one another since 2007 when Florida State won 7-0. The only match North Florida has won was the first match in 1985.
“North Florida is one of the best teams in the country that people maybe haven’t heard of,” continued Hultquist. “They’ve got a lot of really good player. They’re number one player won the State of Florida Championships this year. I look for them to be very competitive and spirited.”
The Seminoles face their neighbors the Rattlers at 10:00 a.m. on Monday for the first dual match since 2007, which the `Noles won 7-0. Although it has been five years since the last match, the teams are familiar with one another having seen each other in fall tournaments. Individually, current Seminoles have gone 8-5 in singles and doubles the past two seasons. Florida State holds an 7-0 record against the Rattlers in a series that dates back to 1970.
“The years I’ve been here FAMU is as good as a team they’ve ever had this year,” said Hultquist. “Their number one player won our fall tournament here. He was the Junior College National Champion, very strong player.”
At 4:00 p.m. on Monday, the Seminoles will finish the weekend off against Troy. The two teams first met in 1948, which was Florida State’s first season. Since then the two teams have only played one another two addition times. Winning all three of the matches, the two teams squared off last season winning 7-0. The only current Seminoles that faced them last year is juniors Anderson Reed and Andres Bucaro and sophomore Blake Davis.
Florida State has a tough schedule this year with 17 of their 23 opponents being ranked in the top 75 by the ITA. The team will feature a little bit of a new look returning only four players and welcoming six. Returning with Reed, Bucaro and Davis is junior Jordan Kelly-Houston. Joining the team this year is senior transfer Jason Zafiros and redshirt-sophomore transfer Brian Alden. The freshmen this season are Dominic Cotrone, Cristian Gonzalez Mendez, João Gauer and Benjamin Lock.
“We know we’re going to have a competitive weekend,” concluded Hultquist. “I think there are a lot of good teams in college, especially on the men’s side where there is only 4.5 scholarships per team so everyone has really good top of the line players.”
All matches are played at the Scott Speicher Tennis Center unless weather forces the matches to be played at the Indoor Tennis Facility located next to the Seminole Golf Course. Fans can check the fan weather hotline at (850) 645-GAME.