TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The 15th ranked Florida State women’s tennis team (3-1) fell just short of taking down Tennessee (3-0) in the first round of the ITA Kick-Off Weekend.
“I have to give some credit to Tennessee, they came in and were ready to swing away at us from doubles until the last point was hit,” said head coach Jennifer Hyde. “I wish we could have helped ourselves a little more out of some tough situations.”
“We just did not play good enough up and down the line. We have to have every person show up every time we play and we didn’t today and it cost us. It cost us an opportunity to play LSU with a chance to compete at national indoors.”
The Seminoles battled in a hard fought match against the Volunteers that was tied 3-3 and came down to court two.
The Garnet and Gold started the match by capturing the doubles point in a tightly contested match. Florida State dominated court two, taking the match 6-1 before Tennessee tied it up with a 6-3 win on court one. With the doubles point coming down to court three the Seminole pairing of senior Ariana Rahmanparast and junior Nandini Das were down 5-3. They dominated the rest of the match, winning four straight games to take court three 7-5 and the doubles point.
“I was really proud of the fight after getting down at number three doubles, said Hyde. “We did a good job down 3-5 to find a way to get ourselves back into that set and step up our game.”
Tennessee bounced back in singles quickly taking court six to tie the match. Junior Carla Touly fired back to take the match on court one 6-3, 6-4. Once again, the Lady Vols retaliated tying the team score up at two with a win on court four. Tennessee then took their first lead with a win on court five.
“I am very proud of Carla at the top spot,” said Hyde. “She did a great job of holding on. It was a battle of service games and she was able to grab a break in each set against a very seasoned college player. She did a great job of keeping her head and sticking with her game plan and game style. It paid dividends for her today.”
The Seminoles were resilient and continued to fight as sophomore Emmanuelle Salas made a huge comeback to take court three and tie the match. Salas took the first set 6-4 but fell behind 5-1 in the second set. She flipped a switch and went on a run taking the next six games, the second set and the match.
“On court three, Manu won that first set and got behind 1-5 in the second set,” said Hyde. “As soon as she knew she needed to get her point she came roaring back to win six straight games and the match. That tells you a lot about her guts and that is a big positive we will take away from today.”
With the match all tied up at three is came down to reigning ACC Player of the Week, Ana Oparenovic. After losing in the first set in a tiebreak she too fell behind early, 4-1. She showed fight battling all the way back to force a tiebreaker. Trying to force a match-deciding third set, Oparenovic fell just short in the tiebreaker with a valiant effort 7-4.
“Ana did a great job fighting as well,” said Hyde. “7-6, 7-6 tells you the match was a difference of points and we just did not quite get them to fall our way.”
“We have to rebound really quickly heading into another big match-up tomorrow against Clemson. I am eager to see how we respond to this very difficult loss and see what we are made of.”
Florida State will continue competition tomorrow against conference foe Clemson at 1 pm at the FSU Indoor Tennis Facility (2566 Pottsdammer St.).
Tennessee 4, #15 Florida State University 3
Florida State University 3-1; National ranking #15
Order of finish: Doubles (2,1,3); Singles (6,1,4,5,3,2)