College Station, Texas (Tallahassee, Fla.) – The 28th-ranked FSU men’s tennis team fought to the bitter end against third-ranked Texas A&M Friday night, eventually falling to the Aggies 4-3 at the Mitchell Tennis Complex. Florida State (6-2) fought back from a 3-0 hole to tie the match before Texas A&M (6-0) clinched the victory.
Florida State lost the doubles point for the first time this season. Seniors Benjamin Lock and Marco Nunez were the first off the courts with a 6-2 win on Court 1 over Harrison Adams and Shane Vinsant. The Seminoles could not overcome being a break down on either of the remaining courts, however, dropping Courts 2 and 3 by identical 6-3 scores.
For Lock and Nunez, they moved to 7-0 this spring with all seven wins coming on Court 1. Freshman Aziz Dougaz and senior Michael Rinaldi, playing on Court 3, fell for the first time this season and are now 5-1.
In singles, the Aggies ran out to a quick 3-0 lead with straight-set wins on Courts 5 and 6. With FSU needing to win all the remaining points, Dougaz rebounded from his only loss of the year last weekend with a 6-4, 6-4 win on Court 4 over Harrison Adams. Shortly thereafter, Rinaldi won by a similar score on Court 3 over Jordi Arconada to trim the Texas A&M lead to 3-2.
The final two matches came down to both teams only ranked players. For the Seminoles, No. 77 Nunez took the first set against No. 29 Shane Vinsant before the Aggie forced a third set. In the third, Nunez overcame a 2-0 deficit and broke at 4-3 before serving out for the 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 win to tie the match.
On Court 1, No. 15 Lock was facing No. 5 Arthur Rinderknech and looking for his second Top 5 win of the season after beating No. 4 Julian Lenz in the fall. Lock held a lead for much of the second set after an early break, but Rinderknech broke as Lock was serving to force a third set, then won the remaining two games to walk away a 7-5, 7-5 winner. All seven of Lock’s losses have been to Top 17 players.
Head Coach Dwayne Hultquist:
“It was a tough match. Well played, hard fought on both sides. We had a chance to win doubles and knew it would be important. We were up 3-1 on Court 3 and lost a few close games. That was key for them getting the doubles point. We had some good starts in singles. They broke back on some of them, but I was pleased with a lot of the effort we got today. It was intense and good preparation for us moving forward to postseason.”
“I was pleased with Marco coming back down in the third to win the match and give us a chance. Aziz and Michael both got good wins too.”
On fighting back after losing the doubles point for the first time this season:
“We did a good job coming back in singles and getting up breaks early in singles. We started quick and had some good opportunities.”
– Florida State continues to look for win No. 1,000 in program history. Friday was the team’s first chance to reach the milestone.
– Texas A&M leads the all-time series 8-2; this was the first matchup since 2008.
– Lock’s doubles victory Friday was the 85th of his career, tying him with Scott Blessing for fourth-most in school history. He is seven doubles wins behind Jeff Horine for third place.
– Lock also sits 3 wins out of 10th place on the all-time singles list, and his 165 combined singles and doubles wins are good for sixth in school history.
– A win Friday would have been the first Top 3-win for Hultquist in his 17 years at Florida State. Both FSU losses this season have been 4-3 against Top 15 teams (at No. 13 USF Jan. 23).
Florida State will take two weeks off before hitting the courts again at home against The Citadel and Liberty. The Citadel match is at 11:00 a.m. and is part of the men’s and women’s tennis programs Military Appreciation Weekend. The Liberty match is scheduled for 5:00 p.m. with both matches taking place at the Scott Speicher Tennis Center.
For more information on Florida State tennis, 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).
No. 3 Texas A&M 4, No. 28 Florida State 3
February 5, 2016 – Mitchell Tennis Center, College Station, Texas
#5 Arthur Rinderknech (TAMU) def. #15 Benjamin Lock (FSU), 7-5, 7-5
#77 Marco Nunez (FSU) def. #29 Shane Vinsant (TAMU), 6-4, 3-6, 6-3
Michael Rinaldi (FSU) def. Jordi Arconada (TAMU), 6-4, 6-4
Aziz Dougaz (FSU) def. Harrison Adams (TAMU), 6-4, 6-4
AJ Catanzariti (TAMU) def. Terrell Whitehurst (FSU), 6-4, 6-3
Max Lunkin (TAMU) def. Terrance Whitehurst (FSU), 6-1, 6-2
Lock/Nunez (FSU) def. Adams/Vinsant (TAMU), 6-2
Rinderknech/Jackson Withrow (TAMU) def. #55 Whitehurst/Whitehurst (FSU), 6-3
#29 Arconada/Lunkin (TAMU) def. Dougaz/Rinaldi (FSU), 6-3
Order of Finish – Singles: 6,5,4,3,2,1; Doubles: 1,3,2