TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The 12th ranked Florida State women’s tennis team (18-5, 10-3) repeated what they accomplished on Sunday as they took down No. 19 Virginia (17-5, 9-4) in dramatic fashion. With the win, the Noles have guaranteed themselves a double bye in the ACC Tournament and have all but guaranteed themselves a national seed in the NCAA Tournament.
“That was not short of excitement,” said head coach Jennifer Hyde. “The doubles point got away from us again today and we got down four first sets. For a little bit of time there, it looked a little hairy. The girls did a fantastic job of fighting themselves back into that match. It was a good team effort tonight. Getting four singles wins against a top-20 opponent is tough.”
“We have solidified a top-four seed and a double bye in the ACC Tournament and that is a program first. We have been a five seed a number of times. This was a goal that the girls set back in the fall as well as hosting NCAAs. They have solidified that tonight. I am so proud of them and so happy for them.”
For the third match in a row, the Seminoles fall behind 1-0 after losing the doubles point. Virginia struck first with a 6-4 win from their number three pair but the Noles punched back with a 6-3 win on court two by senior Ariana Rahmanparast and junior Carla Touly. The doubles point came down to court one. Senior Ana Oparenovic and sophomore Emmanuelle Salas fell behind 2-0 before evening it up at two. The Seminole duo took a 4-3 lead but lost three games in a row to sacrifice the doubles point.
The Garnet and Gold tied things up in singles with a quick win on court two. After clinching the match against NC State last Sunday, Salas got an easy win. She fell behind 3-1 early in the first set but came back to win five of the final six games to take the set 6-4. In the second set, she dominated, sweeping her opponent 6-0.
Virginia struck back quickly with a 6-2, 6-1 win on court one. UVA extended their lead to 3-1 with a 6-3, 6-0 win on court four by 116th ranked Chloe Gullickson.
Florida State was not fazed as they came back to take the final three courts. It all started with junior Andrea Garcia on court six. She jumped out to a 5-2 lead in the first set but allowed her opponent back in the match as she was taken to a tiebreaker. Garcia took the tiebreaker 9-7 and the second set 6-3 to narrow Virginia’s lead to 3-2.
Oparenovic was next tying the match up at three with a three-set win on court three. She lost the first set 6-4 to 90th ranked Amber O’Dell but came back with vengeance, taking the final two sets 6-0, 6-1.
With the match all tied up, it came down to Rahmanparast on court five. She had lost the first set 6-4. She knew she needed to force a third set for the team to have a chance and she did just that. She took the second set 7-5. The final set for the match was a battle that eventually headed into a tiebreaker. Rahmanparast fell behind 3-1 but she would not let her opponent score another point as she won six points in a row to seal the match.
“Nothing comes easy,” said coach Hyde. “It would have been nice to walk out of here with a 7-0 sweep this time of the year but that is just not how things go down in this conference, ever. I am glad that we have the guts and are challenging ourselves. I am most proud of these girls.”
The Noles wrap up the regular season on Saturday against Louisville at 12 PM. The Seminoles will honor their four seniors before the match.
#12 Florida State University 4, #19 Virginia 3
Virginia 17-5, 9-4; National ranking #19
Florida State University 18-5, 10-3; National ranking #12
Order of finish: Doubles (3,2,1); Singles (2,1,4,6,3,5)