March 16, 2011
By Zach Mendelson, Seminoles.com
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The No. 35 Florida State women’s tennis team (5-5) will look to rebound from a difficult loss against Atlantic Coast Conference rival Clemson Tigers as they face the Georgia State Panthers (9-1) on Thursday, March 17 at 3 p.m. on the courts of the Scott Speicher Tennis Center.
“Georgia State is a big match for us and we need to bounce back from our tough loss against Clemson this past weekend,” said head coach Jennifer Hyde. “Even though we lost that match, there are so many positives to be taken from our effort on Sunday. The girls put their heads down this week and got a lot of individual work in and everyone’s focus is a little sharper leading into Thursday. We are looking forward to getting back on court and competing.”
“I think it’s really important to go out and not think about the past and how we’ve played against other teams before this,” said senior Katie Rybakova. “I think we have stay focused on the season and to come out against Georgia State and strong.”
Clemson marked the fifth top 20 team FSU has played in 2011. While the Panthers are not currently ranked, they still present a formidable foe for the Seminoles which know better than to underestimate its opponent.
“Even though Georgia State is not highly ranked, they are a dangerous team and that is why they are on our schedule,” said Hyde. “They have had a lot of success. Their coach there has done a great job of bringing that program to a new level. They haven’t lost a lot. They are in the habit of winning, and that is exactly what we need to see. We need to see a confident team on the other side of the net that will challenge us and push us. We have seen their results and know they are a good program, but we will be ready to defend our home court.”
One thing the Seminoles will look to improve on in this match is learning to shut the door on their opponents if and when they have a lead.
“Playing complete matches is our main focus in singles and doubles right now,” said Hyde. “All season the girls have done a fine job of creating leads for themselves and now it’s time to finish someone off when having those leads. That is a big learning lesson we took from our match against Clemson, one that we will take with us as the season progresses.”
Overall the Seminoles lead the all-time series record against Georgia State 5-0 with the last meeting being in 2009 where the `Noles defeated the Panthers 5-2 in Tallahassee.
Following the match against Georgia State the Seminoles will a week to prepare for a road trip up to Virginia to face the No. 46 Virginia Tech Hokies on Saturday, March 26 at 10:30 am and then hit the courts again the following day against the No. 11 Virginia Cavaliers at 11am.
“I think we’re really starting to come together and as we start to play our ACC games it’s just important for us to go out and compete, play and fight,” said Rybakova.
Fans can follow the women’s tennis team on Twitter @FSU_WTENNIS and Facebook on the Florida State Women’s Tennis fan page.