January 28, 2017 - by
Tennis Falls at ITA Kickoff

LUBBOCK, Texas-  The Florida State men’s tennis team (5-2) fell in a tightly contested match with No. 20 Mississippi State Bulldogs (2-0) 4-3 at the McLeod Tennis Center on Saturday.

“I think it was a great college match with lots of momentum swings,” Florida State head coach Dwayne Hultquist said. “I thought we fought hard to go up in the second sets. Overall the battle was strong and it was the best I’ve seen us play this year.”

The Seminoles took the doubles point after redshirt juniors Jose Gracia and Lucas Poullain grabbed a 6-3 victory, followed by junior Guy Iradukunda and sophomore Aziz Dougaz with a 6-4 win to give Florida State a 1-0 lead.

The singles matches were closely contested, as three courts came down to three sets.

No. 59 Iradukunda fell 6-1, 6-2 to tie the match at 1-1, while freshman Rana-Roop Singh Bhullar claimed court six with a dominant 6-1, 6-1 victory to put the Noles up 2-1.

Junior Terrance Whitehurst fell on court five 7-5, 6-4 to tie the match again at 2-2.

Poullain fell 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 in three sets, but Gracia took the third set to win 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 on court four to tie the match at 3-3.

No. 71 Dougaz came down to the final set on court one, but fell 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 to give the Bulldogs a 4-3 victory.

Tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. EST, the Noles will face host Texas Tech, an NCAA final site team from last season that was upset by Iowa on Saturday.

“We’ll have to play a very strong match against Texas Tech,” Hultquist said. “But we’re prepared to go out there and compete.”

The ITA Kickoff Weekend is a nationwide event held across 15 host sites for both men and women’s tennis. The teams hope to qualify for the 2017 ITA Division I National Men’s Team Indoor Championship in Charlottesville, Va. February 17-20.

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