Jan. 16, 2012
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - For the first time since 1988, the No. 44 Florida State men's tennis team (3-0) has started the season shutting out its first three opponents. Earlier in the day, the Seminoles stopped Florida A&M 7-0 then shut down Troy 7-0 tonight at the Scott Speicher Tennis Center.
"I'm really pleased that even though we won the matches, we didn't let up and everyone took pride in winning every single match," said head coach Dwayne Hultquist. "I think we've demonstrated we've got a lot of depth which I'm pleased with. I'm particularly pleased with how we've played doubles and adjusted to partners and playing hard together."
"It was really good for the team to start out 27-0," said Blake Davis. "It was a great confidence booster for everybody. I know some of us didn't have as good as a fall as we wanted to, even though we put in the work. We got here January 2nd and kept putting in the work and got off to a strong start."
Florida State stormed the courts to take a quick lead winning all three of the doubles matches against Florida A&M. Junior Jordan Kelly-Houston and sophomore Blake Davis defeated Salif Kante and Levan Clark 8-3 on court one while Dominic Cotrone and Anderson Reed won 8-4 over Takura Happy and Chidi Gabriel on court two. Freshman Benjamin Lock and junior Andres Bucaro won 8-1 on court three against Temuera Asafu-Adjaye and Fabrice Myrtil.
In singles play, Florida State came out swinging as senior Jason Zafiros won 6-0, 6-1 against Myrtil and freshman Cristian Gonzalez Mendez beat Happy 6-4, 6-2. Playing in his first career singles match, Lock won 6-2, 6-4 against Asafu-Adjaye on court six. Davis and Reed came off the courts next. Davis won 6-3, 6-2 over Levan Clark while Reed overtook Gabriel 6-2, 7-6(1). Kelly-Houston closed out the match as he defeated last year's Junior College National Champion Salif Kante 2-6, 7-6 (3), 1-0 (10-6) on court one.
In the night bout against Troy, the Seminoles once again came out strong in doubles not showing and wear from the earlier match. Mixing up the line-up, Cotrone and Reed played on court one and shut down Patrick Eichler and Sami Ghorbel 8-1. On court two Bucaro and Lock won 8-2 over Anas Rouchdi and Ture Skinner. Teaming up with Kelly-Houston in his spring debut was redshirt sophomore Brian Alden. The dup topped Mansingh Athare and Jamie Eccleton 6-2, 6-3.
In singles play, the Seminoles played their third different line-up in as many matches. Playing in his first singles match of the spring was Cotrone who won 6-2, 6-2 against Tadju Davies on court six. Bucaro won 6-4, 6-1 on court four against Athare and then clinched Davis clinched the match against Ghorbel 6-1, 6-3.
"My first two games lasted quite a long time against Troy," said Davis. "I know I was looking down at some other courts and it's 4-2 and 5-3 and I'm 1-1. I was pretty much ready to play until midnight but luckily Ghorbel kind of broke down mentally and physically a little bit and I was able to capitalize on it."
Zafiros once again played an enthusiastic match as we defeated Eichler 6-2, 4-6, 1-0 (10-3) on court five. On court three, Gonzalez Mendez topped Eccleton 6-2, 6-3. Creating a little bit of suspense was Kelly-Houston as he dropped the first set against Rouchdi. The junior won the tight second set to force a third set tiebreaker. Dominating the tiebreaker, he won the match 1-6, 7-5, 1-0 (10-3).
"It's feels pretty good that I just got here six months ago and these are my first dual matches," said Gonzalez Mendez. "I was really nervous my first match. I feel very good winning those matches and it's good for my confidence."
"I think we put a big emphasis on the fall on conditioning and certain standards we wanted to meet," continued Hultquist. "We're off to a good start. This next weekend is another big weekend, we've got three more matches and then go from there."
Florida State hosts the Seminole Quad next weekend as they face South Alabama, UAB and Furman. All matches are played at the Scott Speicher Tennis Center. Call (850) 645-GAME for updates. Follow the team on twitter at twitter.com/fsu_mtennis.