Nov. 11, 1997
New Era Begins for Seminole Tennis in 1998
Florida State men's tennis enters a somewhat new era in 1998, as the program celebrated it's 50th anniversary in 1997. Not only is it the 51st season of men's tennis at Florida State University, 1998 is also head coach David Barron's eighth season at the helm of the program.
In both instances, the turn of the golden anniversary for Seminole men's tennis and Barron's eighth season at FSU, new beginnings occur. He brings to the 1998 season a renewed sense of direction, philosophy and attitude. The primary goal remains the same, to advance to the NCAA final site at the end of the season, but the approach taken will have a different look.
Barron has always emphasized that success off the court will dictate how you achieve your goals on the court. A well-rounded player can and should excell in all phases of college life which includes academics, life skills, training, conditioning and the element of winning.
"Although the men's program has been successful the past five or six years with some great wins along the way, we really have only reached a certain plateau," commented Barron. "Now I want to go to the next level. So we are asking our coaches, players and staff to re-evaluate their goals and missions, to identify our strengths and weaknesses. Then we can put them together for an even stronger team. Dedication and committment are an essential element for any athletic program an it is a major necessity to win on the court."
Barron's eighth season at FSU is the longest duration by a single coach in the history of the program. With a 19-win season, Barron will become the all-time winningest coach. He already surpassed 100 wins last season, a feat only two other coaches in the program's 50 years have reached.
Returning to the Seminole line up in '98 are six players all with extensive dual match experience, a transfer from Auburn University and two freshmen with high potential.
Leading the Tribe in '98 will be junior Ty Braswell, a native of Umatilla. Braswell broke out in 1997, while playing at the 2 singles position and at No. 1 for an injured Antonio Prieto. At the No. 2 spot, Braswell proved to Coach Barron that he will be force to wrecken with for the upcoming season. Braswell earned 19 overall wins last year with a clean sweep of competition at the ACC Championships, including ACC Tournament MVP Clemson's Bruce Li. He also earned the ACC flight championship at No. 2 doubles with Yvo Niks.
Niks, a native of Holland, came on strong last season and will look to do the same in '98. He placed second on the team with 21 overall singles wins, the second straight season he had 20 or more singles victories. The junior also stepped up his play in '97 while jumping from No. 5 and 6 singles to the No. 3 and 4 competition last year. He had the second longest win streak of the season with a 10-match span in February and March.
Just one senior remains on the FSU roster, as Miami-native Alex Golub enters his fourth year of competition as a Seminole. Golub, a former ACC flight singles champion, is a veteran of dual match competition with nearly 40 career singles victories while playing from No. 2 through 6 singles. He is also one of the 'Noles more accomplished doubles players with experience at the No. 1 doubles position since his freshman season.
Sophomore Michael Ingham was perhaps the most pleasant surprise of 1997. His resume as he entered his freshman season showed that he was able to accomplish at high levels, but his transition to the college and dual match format went very smoothly. The Rochdale, England native led the team with an impressive 26-7 overall singles record and an 18-4 dual match standing at No. 3 through 6 singles. His 6-1 ACC singles record would have merited a possible championship or all-conference honor, but it was spread over four separate flights.
Transfer Davidson Kozlowski, a junior from Sarasota, comes to FSU with two years of playing experience with the Auburn Tigers where he played at the No. 5 singles and No. 1 doubles position. He had a 19-5 overall record at No. 5 singles as a fresman while assisting the Tigers to a No. 18 national ranking.
Junior Steve Weinstein of North Miami Beach jumped into extensive competition last season, earning time at No. 5 and 6 singles, primarily. He won all of his fall matches and claimed his flight's championship at the Seminole Fall Classic. Although he earned just nine overall singles wins last season, he has spent the entire off season preparing for the upcoming year.
Sophomore Jay Travis also showed upside potential in 1997, as did Weinstein. Travis, a resident of Palmetto, went undefeated in singles competition last year with a 9-0 overall record. In that, he claimed a championship at the Clemson Fall Classic while posting five wins at No. 6 singles, two within ACC competition.
Both incoming freshmen, Gerald Casas and Chad Mooney, have a great amount experience playing in national junior tournaments. Casas, a native of Henderson, Nevada, won the backdraw at the Easter Bowl tournament and was regarded as a topten nationally player in boys 16 bracket. The St. Albans, West Virginia, resident Mooney competed in the National 16's Indoor championships and was a backdraw semifinalist for the National 18's Indoor championships. He also advanced to the round of 16 at the National Hardcourts doubles championships.
Usually beginning most dual matches in February, the Seminoles have four within the month of January. Aside from in-state teams, Stetson and Jacksonville, FSU will meet up once again with Old Dominion. the Tribe defeated ODU last season 5-2 and the Crimson are a perennial top 10 challenge.
February brings six opponents, four which we will be played at the Speicher Center. The month is highlighted with contests at South Alabama, an annual top 20 opponent, and at South Florida, who defeated FSU 4-3 in Tallahassee in '97.
During the month of March, aside from beginning the ACC portion of the schedule, the Tribe meet up with Florida in Tallahassee. FSU upset the favored-Gators 4-3 in Gainesville last season. The ACC schedule includes matches with rivals North Carolina and Clemson, plus top 10 Duke and NC State and Wake Forest.
In completing the dual match season in April, the Seminoles will have to be ready to make the stretch for the NCAA's, because the opponents don't get any easier. The first two matches in Tallahassee will be crucial for the run, with nationally ranked Florida International and Miami coming to town. The 'Noles then leave for Charlottesville, Va., where they'll meet up with ACC host Virginia, Maryland and top 20 challenge Virginia Commonwealth. Prior to the conference tournament, FSU meets up with Furman and nationally strong Clemson.
A challenging schedule coupled with experienced veteran players the Seminoles will look to finish among the top programs in the ACC once again. The Tribe will also look to extend their four-year streak of NCAA regional appearances and better it by advancing to the final site in Athens, Ga., May 15-24.