February 18, 2005 - by
FSU Men’s Tennis Continues Home Stand With #25 Rice

Feb. 18, 2005

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First Serve:
#43 Florida State Men's Tennis vs. #25 Rice
Saturday, February 19, 12 p.m.
Scott Speicher Tennis Center - Tallahassee, Fla.
Florida State (4-3 overall) / Rice (5-1 overall)

Ground Strokes:
FSU Continues Home Stand With #25 Rice

In the midst a four-match home stand, the No. 41 Florida State University men’s tennis team faces its fifth ranked opponent in a row when it plays host to #25 Rice University. The two teams square off Saturday, February 19 at 12 p.m. at the Scott Speicher Tennis Center.

22-Year Drought Faces Seminoles Against The Owls
Most of the Florida State roster was not born the last time the Seminoles beat Rice in a dual match. The Tribe’s loan victory over the Owls came in 1983 when the team was under the direction of Randy Jobson. After last year’s 4-2 victory in Houston, Rice holds a 4-1 advantage over the Seminoles. Picking up Florida State’s loan wins were Chris Westerhof (Durban, South Africa) and Jarrod Owen.

Seminoles End Three-Match Slide With Win Over #51 USF
Following a great start to the 2005 dual match campaign, the Seminoles ran into a streak of bad luck as it dropped three-straight matches, including a pair to two of the top five teams in the country. Florida State got the ship back on the right course with its 6-1 victory over South Florida on February 11. The Tribe swept all three doubles matches then proceeded to win five of the six singles contests.

Rice Comes Into Tallahassee On A High Note
The 2005 campaign has been a roller coaster for the Rice Owls. The squad started the year ranked 16th in the initial ITA poll, but dropped to No. 32 after a bad loss to Nebraska. The Owls enter Saturday’s bout on the upswing after a pair of victories over ranked schools. First they took down No. 25 Oklahoma State 5-1 then beat #47 Tulsa 5-2. No. 1 singles player Robert Searle started the fall ranked 11th by the ITA, but fell out of the rankings because he did not compete in the fall.

Cloer Needs One Singles Win To Tie Ty
Throughout the last season and a half, Mat Cloer (Brevard, N.C.) has been making his mark on the school record books. The two-time ACC Player of the Year needs just one more singles victory to slide his name one more spot up the career list. Currently he has 72 singles wins, putting him just one short of former assistant coach Ty Braswell for seventh in school history.

Chang and Cloer Answer Third-Set Challenge
Before the match with South Florida, head coach Dwayne Hultquist challenged his team to rebound better from first set losses. After dropping their open stanza against the Bulls, both freshman Sam Chang (Young-Ming, Tawain) and Mat Cloer responded with three-set victories. Chang only won one game is opening set, but rallied for a 1-6, 6-2, 6-2 decision over Juan Carlos Gomez. Just as impressive, Cloer bounced back from a 6-2 loss in the first set to defeat Uli Kiendl 6-1, 6-2.

Abougzir Ends Singles Drought With Straight-Set Victory
All of last year, coach Hultquist talked about what kind of team the Seminoles could be with Ytai Abougzir (Boca Raton, Fla.) in the line-up. After some struggles early in the year, the sophomore is starting to return to the form that made him one of the top junior players in the worlds. Abougzir stopped a three-match singles losing streak with a 6-1, 6-1 triumph over USF’s Frederico Barton.

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