Tallahassee, FL – In the first 54 meetings in the series, the FSU women’s tennis program had two wins over the University of Florida. How things have changed. Seminole Head Coach Jen Hyde led her squad to its fourth straight win versus UF and has flipped the series upside down. On Thursday night, the eighth-ranked Seminoles once again beat the Gators, this time by a 4-1 score.
The Seminoles took the doubles point and then dropped just one match before clinching the victory. It was the first win over the Gators in Tallahassee since 2015 and gave the Top 10 Seminoles their first ranked victory of the season. It also moved FSU to 3-0 and continued the streak of no current Seminole having ever lost to their rivals from Gainesville.
“It feels fantastic,” said Hyde, following the win. “These rivalry matches are special. They are unique. You try not to make a big deal about them as a coach. You try to play it down like it’s just another competition but there is a different feel to these types of games.
“I am so proud of these girls and the girls that have been in the program to bring us to where we are now. It is exciting to be part of a group that has now won four straight in this series. The Gators have been the standard and now that the standard has changed a little bit from our end, it is exciting. Things can change on a dime and there are no guarantees but right now we are moving in the right direction and the state of the program is pretty solid.”
The Seminoles put themselves in front of their rival early, taking the doubles point 2-0. The seventh-ranked doubles pair of Victoria Allen and Petra Hule took down the Gators’ 26th-ranked doubles pair 6-3. The Seminoles’ veteran duo of Nandi Das and Andrea Garcia then secured the point with a 6-4 victory.
As has been the case most of the season, Allen came out fast and closed her opponent out early in singles with a 6-1, 6-2 win to put FSU up 2-0. Garcia was next off for the Seminoles, winning 6-3, 6-2 and improving her career record versus the Gators to 3-0. Garcia’s victory moved FSU to within a point of the win at 3-1.
With three matches still hanging in the balance and the Gators hoping to pull out the comeback, it was Das who put the final nail in the win. Das, who came in 2-0 lifetime versus the Gators, wasn’t going to let the winning point fall on anyone else’s shoulders. She took the first set 6-2 and then clinched the win with a 6-4 second set victory.
“You saw that grit today. We were down in doubles at two and we got ourselves back into it, which was really good confidence for everybody,” said Hyde. (Petra) got down her first set and she jumps back and gets that second set. Vic comes out, on fire again, gets another point on the board. (Andrea) is down on six doing her thing as usual.
“(Nandini) came out on fire in singles and did what she is capable of doing consistently. It’s kind of epic for (Nandini) and (Andrea), who have been a part of this turn and shift in the program to where we are. I am so glad they both got wins and it was very poetic that it was (Nandini) that got the clinching win. I am glad it was her. Being able to do that in this setting, with a little added pressure from the rivalry, tells you a lot about our team.”
The Seminoles will now go on the road to face their biggest early-season challenge heading to Athens to face the seventh-ranked Bulldogs. The teams saw each other in a tournament format to start the season but FSU hasn’t faced UGA in a dual since 2014. Sunday’s match is slated for an 11:00 a.m. start and fans will be able to follow the action via a live stream on GeorgiaDogs.com.
“We will take a couple of days to recover and then head up to Athens to play another great SEC team,” said Hyde. “We haven’t played them in a dual match in a long time and we have to get ourselves ready for that next opportunity to keep climbing.
“We are going to be indoors. I like this team indoors a lot. A few weeks ago, we saw quite a few of their players when they were here for our tournament. I feel like we have a good scouting report heading into the matches and it’s just about lacing it up and the best team is going to win on the day.”
For more information on the 2021 Seminole Women’s Tennis program, please follow us on social at FSUWTennis (IG) and @FSU_WTennis (TW) and log on to Seminoles.com.