GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The season came to an end for the Florida State men’s tennis team (19-11) on Saturday in Gainesville after 4-0 loss to third-seeded Florida in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
The day began with a highly contested doubles point that went into a tiebreaker. The Gators took court three with ease 6-1. Junior Alex Knaff and sophomore Sebastian Arcila tied the doubles point up with their second doubles win of the tournament 6-3 on court one. Just like yesterday’s match which came down to freshman Juan Martin Jalif, the doubles point came down to Jalif and his partner redshirt senior Lucas Poullain. They went back and forth until the match went into a tiebreaker. The duo went down 5-2 in the breaker and could not come back as Florida’s Alfredo Perez and Sam Riffice won the breaker to clinch the match.
“Doubles was huge today and we came up a little short,” said head coach Dwayne Hultquist. “We had three match points on court two after Alex and Sebastian played really well on court one. If we would have been able to take the doubles point, I feel like that would have given us some momentum into singles.”
Florida came out hot in singles taking five first sets and turning that into two early points. The Gators took court five with a 6-0, 6-2 win. They expanded their lead to 3-0 with a 6-0, 6-4 win on court six. Sophomore Sebastian Arcila got swept in the first set and fell behind 4-1 in the second. He battled back to make it 5-4 but that was not enough as Florida’s McClain Kessler took the second set 6-4 and a 3-0 lead.
Freshman Richard Thongoana was up 5-3 in his first set on court four before getting forced into a tiebreaker that he would go on to lose. While that was going on Jalif won his first set in a tiebreaker and Knaff forced a third set after a 6-0 sweep in the second set.
“Florida jumped out and got us good, taking an early lead in singles,” said Hultquist. “I thought we fought back hard in the second sets. Juni continued to play well after his big win yesterday to clinch the match and Alex did a great job winning the second set. Richard had opportunities up 5-3 in the first set but could not come through.”
The late push was not enough for the Noles as Richard fell 6-2 in the second set to secure the 4-0 win for the Gators.
“This team has not quit all year and plays hard until the end,” said Hultquist. “They did that again today. We have won six of seven matches that have ended with a 4-3 result this season and that is all you can ask for is for the team to fight hard.”
Poullain will be the lone Seminole to compete in this year’s NCAA Singles Championship beginning on Monday, May 20th.
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).
#4 University of Florida 4, #28 Florida State 0
Florida State 19-11; National ranking #28
University of Florida 23-3; National ranking #4
Order of finish: Doubles (3,1,2); Singles (5,6,4)