March 21, 2014
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The No. 41 Florida State men's tennis team (13-5, 2-1) took down No. 31 NC State 4-3 on Friday night at the Scott Speicher Tennis Center. The team won four singles matches to clinch the win after dropping the doubles point.
"It was a great atmosphere tonight," said head coach Dwayne Hultquist. "I was really pleased with the effort put forth to come from behind after losing doubles. NC State is a great team and this was one of our best matches of the year."
With Florida State seeking revenge after being upset last season, both teams took the courts with gusto in doubles. Playing together for the first time since January, sophomore Michael Rinaldi and freshman Grayson Goldin won 8-5 over Austin Powell and Parker McGuiness. Unfortunately NC State won the other two matches to clinch the doubles point.
Down 1-0, the team won only three first sets of singles play with senior Blake Davis getting a fast 6-1, 6-2 win over Sean Weber on court three. Rinaldi would go on to loss to Simon Norenius 6-4, 6-4 on court five to give NC State the 2-1 advantage.
"When you have those tough doubles points, you always want to come out strong in singles to change the momentum," said Davis. "I was able to that today against a good player which gave our team confidence."
After losing their first sets, both junior Cristian Gonzalez Mendez and Goldin won their second sets to force third sets. With momentum gaining back into the Seminoles' favor, No. 122 Dominic Cotrone upset No. 41 Powell 6-4, 6-4 in the one spot to tie the match back up.
"After losing to Austin last year at NC State, Dominic played a really good match tonight and probably one of this best of the year," continued Hultquist. "It was huge for Grayson to win his second set because we had no clue which way it would go."
After losing his first set, No. 86 Gonzalez Mendez put on the cruise control and coasted through the remaining of the match on court two against No. 98 Robbie Mudge and was up 5-2 in the third. Sophomore Marco Nunez was battling it out next to him on court four against Nick Horton and was winning the tiebreaker 6-4.
With both matches needed to clinch the match, the two were just a serve away from the win. Nunez returned Horton's serve to win his match 6-3, 7-6 (4) and give the Seminoles a 3-1 lead.
Gonzalez Mendez served moments later to clinch the match and won 2-6, 6-3, 6-3 for the Seminoles and snapped their two match losing streak.
"The crowd was awesome out there being loud and cheering on the courts that needed it," said Gonzalez Mendez. "It was good that Grayson and I won our second sets after dropping our first sets and losing the doubles point. This win helped us gain momentum and confidence that we can use on Sunday."
"Cristian lost the first set pretty convincingly but didn't panic and came back to win," concluded Hultquist. "I was pleased for Marco to win in the second and not go on further."
Goldin went on to loss his match 6-2, 5-7, 7-2 to Parker McGuiness on court six.
The team returns to the courts Sunday against Wake Forest at noon and Florida A&M at 6pm. Check back to Seminoles.com for all your information on the men's tennis team and follow the team at twitter.com/fsu_mtennis.
Order of finish: Doubles (1,3,2); Singles (3,1,5,4,2*,6)