April 15, 2011
By Zach Mendelson, Seminoles.com
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The red hot No. 27 Florida State (11-7, 6-4) women’s tennis came away with the biggest win of the season by defeating the No. 4 North Carolina (20-5, 9-2) 4-2 on a sunny Friday afternoon at the Scott Speicher Tennis Center. The win marked the highest ranked opponent the Seminoles have defeated in program history.
“There is definitely a lot of emotion that comes from a win like this”, said head coach Jennifer Hyde. “A win like this, at this time of the year, is exactly what we want to see. We have had a lot of adversity this semester, people coming back from injuries and some other family issues, so it’s really nice to have a big win like this as we slowly start to wind down our regular season play. The girls have really worked hard to get where they are right now and the belief is running deep.”
The win marked the Seminoles fourth straight ACC victory and the first win over a top ten opponent this season.
“We are definitely getting there,” Hyde said. “We are starting to play better tennis and I told the girls earlier this semester, respect the process. It’s all about the process. We don’t want to peak too early, we don’t want to peak too late, but we are definitely starting to play our best tennis at the right time of the year.”
Florida State began the match with a strong start in doubles as Sophomore Francesca Segarelli and freshman Ruth Seaborne defeated the nation’s No. 47 doubles tandem Zoe De Bruycker and Lauren McHale 8-2 on court two. Senior Federica Suess and sophomore Noemie Scharle doubles match was the second to conclude as they fell in a hard fought match against UNC’s top doubles tandem Shinann Featherston and Jelena Durisic 8-5 on court one.
With the doubles portion of the match coming down to a tight battle on court three, the Seminoles exciting duo of senior Katie Rybakova and sophomore Amy Sargeant came from behind to force a tie-breaker against UNC’s Haley Hemm and Tessa Lyons. Rybakova and Sargeant again showed incredible heart fighting back from down 4-0 in the tie breaker win the match 9-8 (10-8) and clinch the critical doubles point.
“We know doubles this time of year decides the big matches,” said Hyde. “We have become a much better doubles team in recent weeks, and it’s making a world of difference. We always say doubles wins championships, and it really does. The momentum of our doubles right now is really carrying over into our singles.”
The Seminoles continued to gain momentum in singles as Francesca Segarelli made quick work of No. 100 Jelena Durisic 6-0, 6-1 on court two. Amy Sargeant would push the Seminoles lead to 3-0 as she defeated the Tarheels Tessa Lyons 6-1, 6-3.
North Carolina would bounce back as Katie Rybakova fell 6-3, 6-4 to No. 14 Zoe De Bruycker 6-3, 6-4 on court one and fellow senior Federica Suess fell to Lauren McHale 6-4, 6-3 to court five to narrow the score to 3-2 Seminoles lead.
With the match coming down to battles on courts three and four, Florida State picked up the fourth and final point needed for the win as Noemie Scharle defeated No. 88 Shinann Featherston 7-6 (7-5), 6-3 to give the Seminoles the monumental victory.
“I couldn’t believe it,” said Scharle. “I was about to cry at the end of the match. I saw Ruth over on court four still battling and I knew I just had to hang in there. Jen told me to just focus on my court, so I just hung in there and knew I had to pull it out for the team.”
“This was my probably my biggest win and the biggest win we have had as a team,” added Scharle. “I don’t think we have ever beaten a team ranked so high. For me it was huge to finally clinch a match for my team. It’s such an incredible feeling.”
Ruth Seaborne’s match against North Carolina’s Gina Suarez-Malaguti was retired early after Scharle sealed the Seminoles victory.
The Seminoles will not have much time to celebrate as they play the last home match of the regular season against No. 3 Duke (21-2, 10-0) on Sunday, April 17 at 12:00 p.m. at the Scott Speicher Tennis Courts. The first fans will receive free FSU Tennis Car Magnets. Fans are encouraged to come to Sunday’s match early as Florida State will be honoring seniors Katie Rybakova and Federica Suess before the match.
“It’s Fede and Katie’s last regular season home match and there are always going to be emotions tied in with that,” said Hyde. “We won’t get caught up in the emotions of the day. Their minds are right and ready to play the number three team in the country and another opportunity is on our radar.”
1. #14 Zoe De Bruycker (UNC) def. Katie Rybakova (FSU) 6-3, 6-4
2. Francesca Segarelli (FSU) def. #100 Jelena Durisic (UNC) 6-0, 6-1
3. Noemie Scharle (FSU) def. #88 Shinann Featherston (UNC) 7-6 (7-5), 6-3
4. Gina Suarez-Malaguti (UNC) def. Ruth Seaborne (FSU) 3-6, 7-6 (7-5), DNF
5. Lauren McHale (UNC) def. Federica Suess (FSU) 6-4, 6-3
6. Amy Sargeant (FSU) def. Tessa Lyons (UNC) 6-1, 6-3
Order to finish: – 2, 6, 1, 5, 3*, 4
1. Featherston/Durisic (UNC) def. Scharle/Suess (FSU) 8-5
2. Segarelli/Seaborne (FSU) def. #47 De Bruycker/McHale (UNC) 8-2
3. Sargeant/Rybakova (FSU) def. Hemm/Lyons (UNC) 9-8 (10-8)
Order to finish: 2, 1, 3*