GAINESVILLE, Fla. – After the threat of weather forced an early morning match between the Florida State men’s tennis team (19-10) and UCF, the Seminoles got off to a sluggish start but was able to win the match in a thriller. The Noles advance to the second round of the NCAA Tournament where they will play Florida tomorrow at 2 pm.
“We came into the day knowing it was going to be a battle,” said head coach Dwayne Hultquist. “We came out strong in doubles and had a chance to take the point, it just did not go our way. The top of the lineup helped made the difference today. Alex and Richard got off to fast starts and Lucas did what he always does taking the match on court one.”
The day got started with the Noles falling behind 1-0 after losing the doubles point. Florida State took an early 2-1 lead on courts one and three while being tied 1-1 on court two. Junior Alex Knaff and sophomore Sebastian Arcila jumped out to a 4-1 lead on court one while redshirt senior Lucas Poullain and freshman Juan Martin Jalif fell behind 3-1 on court two. Knaff and Arcila went on to take court one 6-3, while Poullain and Jalif fell 6-4 on court two. The doubles point came down to sophomore Chase Wood and freshman Bryn Nahrung on court three. The two were back and forth until they were tied 5-5. UCF went on to take the finals two games and the match 7-5 for the doubles point.
Singles started with the Seminoles and Knights splitting three sets apiece. Freshman Richard Thongoana took the first set with ease 6-3. He came back in the second set to take it 6-4 to get the first FSU point on the board.
Knaff then gave the Garnet and Gold their first lead of the match with a win on court two. Up 4-3 in the first set, Knaff went on to win the final two games to take the first set 6-3. He took a 4-2 lead in the second set before finishing off UCF 6-3 in the second set.
UCF then tied the match back up at two with a 6-3, 6-3 win on court six. Poullain once again gave Florida State the lead after a win over 43rd ranked Gabriel Decamps. The two traded points back and forth in the first set until Lucas took the first set 7-5. Down 3-2 in the second set, Poullain won the final four games of the set to take it 6-3 and gave FSU a 3-2 lead in the match.
The match got tied up again as UCF took court four 7-6, 6-1. The match came down to Jalif on court three. He lost the first set 6-4 and took the second set 6-4 to force a match-deciding third set. Tied 3-3 in the third set, Jalif held his opponent to take a 5-3 lead. Then the rain began to fall.
“The momentum of the match flipped in the second set when Juni forced it to 5-4 in the set and went on to win the match,” said Hultquist.
After an over two-hour rain delay, Jalif came out to win three of the final four points to take the match on a deuce point.
Florida State will take on Florida tomorrow at 2 pm with a shot advancing to the Sweet 16.
To keep up with the Seminoles, check Seminoles.com for the latest news and scheduling information, or keep up with the team on social media through Twitter (@FSU_MTennis), Facebook (/FSUMTennis), and Instagram (@FSU_MTennis).
#28 Florida State 4, #30 UCF 3
UCF 15-10; National ranking #30
Florida State 19-10; National ranking #28
Order of finish: Doubles (1,2,3); Singles (5,2,6,1,4,3)