GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The 12/20 ranked Florida State women’s tennis team (9-1) earned a statement win over No. 24 Florida Gators (2-3) for the third straight time and second straight time in Gainesville on Tuesday night. The Seminoles took it to Gators defeating them 4-1. The Noles are now 7-0 against teams in the state of Florida including wins over both Miami and Florida.
“First of all…Big congrats to this group of Seminoles who made history tonight as the first team to ever be State Champs,” said head coach Jennifer Hyde. “That is no easy feat to accomplish, but they set their sights on that goal, and just brought it home. I could not be more happy for or proud of this group in the history they just made.”
“We knew this match was going to run deep into the sets, and we did an amazing job closing out our leads. We grabbed five first sets again, which also gave us a big momentum swing. Even when UF pushed in the second sets, we pushed back harder and were a bit more stubborn, and that was a difference maker.”
The match started out hotly contested as both teams had an early lead on one court with the match all even on court one. The Noles started to take the momentum deep into doubles as they took a 4-2 lead on both courts one and three, while court two was all tied up at three. Senior Ariana Rahmanparast and junior Carla Touly got the Noles on the board in doubles with an easy 6-2 win on court three. It improved their doubles record to 4-0 as a pair this spring. Senior Ana Oparenovic and sophomore Emmanuelle Salas clinched the doubles point on court one with a 6-4 win, clinching it on a double fault by the Gators. Sophomore Petra Hule and junior Andrea Garcia were tied 5-5 but were not able to finish.
“It was great to get the momentum from grabbing that doubles point,” said Hyde. “It was a hard-fought doubles point, which against we expected. You could see that regardless of getting that doubles point the girls felt a sense of urgency to get a quick start in singles, and that is exactly what they did.”
Florida State took the momentum from doubles into singles and captured five of six first set. The Garnet and Gold quickly grabbed a 2-0 lead after a dominating performance on court two from Touly. She took it to 39th ranked McCartney Kessler grabbing the second point for the Noles 6-1, 6-1. Touly is now 5-1 in doubles matches and has beaten five ranked players this year.
The third point of the match was grabbed by junior Nandini Das on court four. She cruised through the first set 6-1 but was in a battle in the second set. Das was down 4-3 but continued to fight and force a tiebreaker. Das would go on to win the tiebreaker and take down No. 43 Victoria Emma and give the Noles a 3-0 lead.
Just seconds after Florida inched closer with a 7-5, 7-5 win on court one. This did not phase the Noles as Salas put the dagger in the match with a three-set win over Marlee Zein on court three.
“It was a really good day at the office for everyone across the board,” said Hyde. “We are continuing to take responsibility for our roles. We are continuing to do the right things and make adjustments quickly. That is imperative at this level. When things are going a little sideways we have got to hold on and switch gears. The girls are just finding ways to do that.”
“Every Seminole out there should be proud of what these young ladies are putting together. We will definitely enjoy this one but there is no doubt that the focus is quickly shifting to Friday night and Duke, the number four team in the country. “
The Noles will be back in action on Friday, February 22nd as they welcome No. 4 Duke to Tallahassee at 5:30 p.m.