Jan. 14, 2012
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Building off the energy of a very enthusiastic crowd, the No. 44 Florida State men's tennis team shut out No. 74 North Florida 7-0. With the win today, Florida State has now won their last 11 season openers and increases their all-time record against UNF to 9-1.
"To me, since I've been here, I'd say it's the best UNF team that they've had," head coach Dwayne Hultquist said. "They had some really good fall results; their number one player won the State of Florida Tournament. They have some good players and compete really hard. It was a good win because at all nine positions we played well and played hard and came through at important stages."
"It was a very good crowd," continued Hultquist. "I think one of the things I liked was our ability to play hard. When you play hard with a lot of enthusiasm people want to come out and watch you play. I thought it was very entertaining and well played on both sides."
Starting the day was doubles with the Noles taking a quick lead winning all three of their matches. One court one, junior Jordan Kelly-Houston and sophomore Blake Davis defeated Julien Belair and Beau Treyz 8-3. On court two, junior Anderson Reed and freshman Dominic Cotrone continued their winning ways from the fall and nabbed the 8-4 match over Norbert Nemcsek and Daniel Sotomarino.
"We got off to a really good start in doubles," continued Hultquist. "We got up a quick break on all three courts and I thought that was important."
After taking the 1-0 lead from doubles, the team went to work in singles winning five of the six first sets. Coming off first for the Seminoles was Bucaro who dominated court three winning 6-2, 6-1 over Nemcsek. Following him off the courts was Davis who won 6-3, 6-1 over Sotomarino on court two.
Clinching the match for the Seminoles was Reed on court six. Only needing two sets, the junior topped Graham Edgar 6-4, 6-2. Kelly-Houston was off next for the Seminoles with a three set match against Buerchner on court one. Kelly-Houston won the first set 6-0 but the talented Buerchner won the second set 6-2. After a tight beginning in the third set, Kelly-Houston came out on top to win the match 6-0, 2-6, 6-2.
"North Florida has been a tough team," said Kelly-Houston. "We had a tough fall with them. The guy I played (Buerchner) is obviously a good player. It was a little deceiving after the first set and I knew he would come back strong. I'm glad I was able to come out in the third set and get back to where I was in the first and finish it out strong."
Playing in the first collegiate duel match, Cristian Gonzalez Mendez forced a first set tiebreaker against Belair which he won. Using the momentum from that first set, the freshman finished out the match with a 7-6 (5), 6-2 win on court four.
"I felt like a couple of matches could have swung either way in the first sets," said Hultquist. "After Blake and Cristian won their tight first sets, we won five first sets. We pretty much dominated after that."
After losing his first set and being down in the second, senior Jason Zafiros knew he needed to come back strong and did just that. Building off the energy from the crowd, he came back to win the second set. Using that drive, he came won the third set decisively to with the match 3-6, 6-3, 6-1.
"It was really important to take UNF very seriously because they beat us during the fall," described Zafiros. "It was huge to have a 7-0 win across the board. It gives us a lot of confidence going to the next match. It was a really big confidence booster. The crowd was extremely helpful and I hope they realize that can help us win a lot of matches down the stretch. A lot of us feed off energy so it's really important for the crowd to be involved."
Florida State returns to the courts on Monday at 10:00 a.m. against Florida A&M and 4:00 p.m. against Troy. All matches are playing at the Scott Speicher Tennis Center. Call (850) 645-GAME for updates. Follow the team on twitter at twitter.com/fsu_mtennis.