Men's Tennis Trio Earns All-ACC Honors
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A trio of Florida State men's tennis players were named to All-Atlantic Coast Conference teams for the 2017 dual match season, the league offices announced on Thursday.
No. 38 sophomore Aziz Dougaz was named first team All-ACC, No. 73 junior Guy Iradukunda was named to the second team, and No. 98 redshirt junior Lucas Poullain was named third team all-conference. The recognitions are the first such honors for all three players.
The selections mark just the second time in program history that three Florida State players have earned All-ACC nods in the same season and the first time since the 2009 dual match season.
“I think that all three players are very deserving,” Florida State head coach Dwayne Hultquist said. “I was thrilled to have all three earn all-conference awards.”
Dougaz has played at the top of the lineup in both singles and doubles for much of the season for the Seminoles, earning five ranked singles victories, the highlight being a 6-4, 6-3 victory over No. 10 Alfredo Perez to help spark the Seminoles' upset of No. 15 Florida at the USTA National Campus in Orlando. Dougaz also defeated the No. 2 player in the nation and fellow first team All-ACC player, Petros Chrysochos, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4, on the road at top-ranked Wake Forest.
The La Marsa, Tunisia native has 11 total singles and 12 total doubles victories in 2017, and spent time in January and April playing for his home nation in Davis Cup, helping Tunisia earn a bid into Group II. He is currently ranked a career-best of No. 38 in the ITA rankings, and is ranked as the No. 77 doubles pair with Iradukunda.
“Aziz beat the number two player, another top-10 player, and showed that he really is a big-match player,” Hultquist said. “He's certainly very deserving of being first team All-ACC.”
In his first season playing Division 1 tennis, Iradukunda stepped into the spotlight in the fall, defeating four ranked opponents en route to the ITA Southeast Regional Championship in October, only the second player in school history to do so.
In the spring, he has held down both courts one and two, earning three ranked wins on the year, including a three-set win over 19th-ranked and former All-American Ronnie Schneider of North Carolina. He currently sits at No. 73 in the ITA poll, and has been as high as No. 59 on the season.
Iradukunda is second on the team in singles wins (14), doubles (16), and overall wins (30) on the season, and has two ranked doubles wins along with Dougaz over No. 12 Georgia Tech and against Clemson in the ACC Championship.
“Guy has also shown that he is big-match player,” Hultquist said. “It's very difficult to win the Regional Championship, he beat the top player for North Carolina, and Ryan Shane in the fall. He has all three of those wins in the last year.”
Poullain joined the team during the fall season, has been a steady and consistent force at the number three spot in the lineup. Poullain leads the team in singles wins (20), doubles wins (18), and overall wins (38), and serves as one of three team captains for the 2016-17 season.
“Lucas you could argue is our most consistent performer,” Hultquist said. “He's been our best point and very clutch in winning some huge matches for us. Teamed with Jose, he has a high national ranking in doubles, and really has had an outstanding year.”
In singles, Poullain faces fewer ranked opponents than those at the top of the lineup, but still picked up a huge win over No. 14 Skander Mansouri of Wake Forest. Along with redshirt junior Jose Gracia, Poullain has been Florida State's strongest doubles pair, holding 16 total victories, including a ranked win over the No. 15-ranked pair for No. 2 Virginia. The pair are ranked No. 53 in the current ITA poll.
NCAA Singles Championships
In addition to his All-ACC award, Dougaz was selected as an at-large entrant into the NCAA Singles Championship, the first time in his career. Former standouts Benjamin Lock and Marco Nunez participated in both the singles and doubles championships each of the last two seasons, with Lock becoming the third All-American in school history with his seeded selection in 2016.
The singles and doubles championships will take place after the NCAA Team Championships in Athens, Ga. Draws will also be announced following the team championships.
The Seminoles will now head to the Fort Worth Regional to take on Arkansas in the first round of the NCAA Championship on May 12.
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