Feb. 22, 2009
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The old adage goes its not how you start but how you finish that counts. The was in evidence Sunday afternoon at the Scott Speicher Tennis Center where the 16th-ranked Seminole men’s tennis team fell behind early but stormed back to defeat the 27th-ranked Rice Owls 4-3. Florida State dropped a tough point in doubles and then went down 2-1 following a loss on court number one but three straight wins on court two, three and five secured the victory for FSU. Senior Chris Cloer staged a comeback of his own to seal the victory raising the team’s record to 10-4 on the season while dropping Rice to 9-4.
“Vahid (Mirzadeh) set the tone,” said head coach Dwayne Hultquist. “He and Clint. Magic (Maciek Sykut) as well. We had to turn one around. We were five minutes away from losing at one point. The turning point was Chris getting into that third set.”
The Seminoles suffered an early setback when Rice stormed from behind to take the doubles point. Jean-Yves Aubone and Clint Bowles got Florida State off to a good start. The 23rd-ranked doubles pair won the first of the three matches 8-5 but the next two did not fall the Seminoles’ way as Rice pulled out two nail-biters to take the point. Andrew Bailey and Maciek Sykut battled from 4-2 and 6-4 down versus Bruno Rosa and Chong Wang to take a late lead at 8-7 but the Owl duo forced a tie-breaker where they came back from a three-point deficit to win the tie breaker 7-5. That left the decision up to court three where Cloer and Vahid Mirzadeh almost forced a tie-breaker of their own before falling 9-7 to Christian Savaria and Sam Garforth-Bles of Rice.
Vahid Mirzadeh got the Seminoles right back on track in singles versus Rice’s Tobias Schiel on court four. The junior from Wellington, FL got a straight sets win 6-2, 6-0 to even the match at 1-1. The Owls jumped right back on top when their number one singles player took down FSU’s Aubone. Cnritoph Muller upset the nation’s 19th-ranked singles player 6-3, 6-0 to put the Owls back in front 2-1. On court three the Seminoles’ Maciek Sykut put FSU back in the match with a straight set win over Chong Wang. Sykut brought FSU level on the day with a 7-5, 6-4 win.
Florida State’s Clint Bowles, ranked 55th, got a huge win versus 2008 All-American Bruno Rosa to put Florida State on the verge of the win over the Owls. The sophomore from Tampa won 6-4, 6-4 setting the stage for the pivotal match of the day on court five pitting FSU’s Cloer and Sam Garforth-Bles.
“Clint beat an All-American last year,” said Hultquist. “Rosa has been going back-and-forth at the No. 1 spot. That is a great win for him. Clint was tough today and that was big.”
Garforth-Bles jumped out to a quick lead with a 6-2 win in the first set but Cloer’s gutsy performance brought the two even when the Seminole senior took the second set 7-5. Cloer rolled in the third and final set clinching the Seminoles’ 10th victory of the season with a 6-1 win in the final set.
“Chris has been in that position a lot,” said Hultquist. “The more there is on the line the better he is. He did the same thing versus Oklahoma State and he did it again today. He is one of the best in that position.”
Big in-state rivals come to Tallahassee over the next week to close out the Seminoles’ home stand. Saturday the 28th FSU opens ACC play versus Miami and then on Tuesday, March 3 the Gators come to town for a 5:00 p.m. match. Those will be the last two times fans will be able to see the men’s tennis team play for quite a while. Following the Florida match, the team will play five straight matches on the road not returning to Tallahassee until they face Virginia Tech March 27.
#16 Florida State 4, #27 Rice 3
No. 1: Christoph Muller (Rice) def. #19 Jean-Yves Aubone (FSU) 6-3, 6-0
No. 2: #55 Clint Bowles (FSU) def. Bruno Rosa (Rice) 6-4, 6-4
No. 3: Maciek Sykut (FSU) def. Chong Wang (Rice) 7-5, 6-4
No. 4:.Vahid Mirzadeh (FSU) def. Tobias Schiel (Rice) 6-2, 6-0
No. 5: Chris Cloer (FSU) def. Sam Garforth-Bles (Rice) 2-6, 7-5, 6-1
No. 6: Isamu Tachibana (Rice) def. Drew Bailey (FSU) 6-4, 6-7 (7-3), 9-6
Order of finish: 4, 1, 3, 2, 5*, 6
No. 1: #23 Aubone/Bowles (FSU) def. Muller/Schiel (Rice) 8-5
No. 2: Rosa/Wang (Rice) def. #47 Bailey/Sykut (FSU) def. 8-8 (7-5)
No. 3: Savaria/Garforth-Bles (Rice) def. Cloer/Mirzadeh (FSU) 9-7
Order of finish: 1, 2, 3*