Tallahassee, Fla. – Playing its first home match of the season, the Florida State women’s tennis team fell 6-1 against third-ranked Florida at the Scott Speicher Tennis Center Thursday evening. The lone Seminole point came from freshman Ariana Rahmanparast, a 4-6, 6-2, 1-0 (13-11) winner over No. 73 Spencer Liang on Court 6.
In what was always going to be an uphill battle against a Gator team with ranked players at all three doubles and all six singles slots, the Seminoles attacked early in doubles, holding a lead on two of three courts. Using a revamped lineup in an attempt to solidify its doubles point, senior Daneika Borthwick paired with sophomore Gabriella Castaneda for the first time this season on Court 1, falling 6-3 against No. 5 Brooke Austin and Kourtney Keegan.
Rahmanparast and Lana Rush led No. 50 Anna Danilina and Brianna Morgan 4-0 early on Court 3, but the Gator duo responded with a 6-4 win to clinch the doubles point.
In singles, the Gators played without the third-ranked player in the country, Belinda Woolcock, but still secured five wins at the top of the lineup. No. 11 Austin, No. 56 Josie Kuhlman, No. 51 Morgan and No. 110 Danilina won in straight sets to secure the win for the Gators. On Court 3, Seminole senior Yukako Noi won the first set against No. 25 Keegan before falling 2-6, 6-4, 1-0 (10-4).
Rahmanparast’s three-set win over Liang was the second ranked win of the freshman’s career after beating Miami’s Clementina Riobueno in the fall.
Head Coach Jennifer Hyde:
“In doubles, we had a lead on two of the three courts and got a little complacent. One of the things to learn is that when you get a lead, you have to really step to the throat and raise your game even more. We backed off and the doubles point got away from us.
“In singles, I was really proud of Yuki’s effort against Keegan. She’s a very seasoned, Top 30 player in the U.S. and I was really proud of her effort. When the match is decided and Ari is the last match on, she hung in there, stepped into the match and went punch-for-punch. She didn’t play her best tennis in the first set but settled in to do what she does best in the second and third sets.
“We definitely have some things we need to work on that are very identifiable. We’ll start addressing those things in practice this week.”
On if the team got any better against Florida:
“Every match is an opportunity to get better. As long as you learn from the losses, you’re getting better. We have a lot of things to take away from the match, for sure. We didn’t play our best tennis, we were passive, and we need to be more aggressive. It was a good match – credit to Florida. We just have to get back to the drawing board.”
On the doubles lineup change before the match:
“We needed a fresh look. We needed to try some different chemistry. We weren’t feeling good about all three spots and we are still sorting through our doubles partnerships. I imagine that’s something that’s going to change a couple more times throughout the season. We’re going to figure out the best three teams to get that doubles point on a consistent basis.”
The Seminoles will host Navy and Florida A&M as part of the team’s second-annual Military Appreciation Event. The Navy match will begin at 11:00 AM and include tributes to student veterans and members of the Tallahassee veteran community.
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_WTennis), Facebook (http://seminolesweb-8b76.kxcdn.com/FSU.WTennis), and Instagram (@FSUWTennis).
#3 Florida 6, #35 Florida State 1
February 4, 2016 – Scott Speicher Tennis Center, Tallahassee, Fla.
#11 Brooke Austin (UF) def. Daneika Borthwick (FSU), 7-6 (2), 6-1
#56 Josie Kuhlman (UF) def. Gabriella Castaneda (FSU), 6-3, 6-2
#25 Kourtney Keegan (UF) def. Yukako Noi (FSU), 2-6, 6-4, 1-0 (10-4)
#51 Brianna Morgan (UF) def. Julia Mikulski (FSU), 6-3, 6-1
#110 Anna Danalina (UF) def. Lana Rush (FSU), 6-2, 6-3
Ariana Rahmanparast (FSU) def. #73 Spencer Liang (UF), 4-6, 6-2, 1-0 (13-11)
#5 Austin/Keegan (UF) def. Borthwick/Castaneda (FSU), 6-3
Mikulski/Noi (FSU) vs. #15 Kuhlman/Belinda Woolcock (UF), 4-5, dnf
#50 Danalina/Morgan (UF) def. Rahmanparast/Rush (FSU), 6-4
Order of Finish: Singles – 5,2,4,1,3,6; Doubles – 1,3