March 25, 2012
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Coming into today's match, the Seminoles had won 14 doubles points. After being behind in doubles, the team rallied to win their 15th doubles point of the season. The point proved to be vital as the No. 31 Florida State men's tennis team (15-4, 6-0) took down No. 33 NC State (15-5, 1-3) 4-3 in a four hour battle at the Scott Speicher Tennis Center.
"I'm proud of the fact we're 6-0 in the conference and one of only two teams still undefeated this year," said head coach Dwayne Hultquist. "That's something we strive to do well in the conference. It makes every match big for now on out. We certainly want to finish high in the conference and be considered one of the top teams."
In doubles play, junior Andres Bucaro and freshman Benjamin Lock got the first win of day with an 8-6 win over Dominic Hodgson and Dave Thomson on court three. The duo won after being down 6-4. Next on court one, NC State's Julian Sullivan and Sean Weber took down junior Anderson Reed and freshman Dominic Cotrone 8-6.
With the doubles point coming down to the last court, both teams rallied behind their teammates but the Seminoles bounced back from being down 6-3 to clinch the match. Junior Jordan Kelly-Houston and sophomore Blake Davis won 8-6 over Robbie Mudge and Jaime Pulgar on court two.
"Doubles was huge," continued Hultquist. "We were down on courts two and three but then the guys really turned it on and played well together. That was a huge point and it was a decisive point."
"It was a really important point in doubles with a 4-3 win," said Davis. "Doubles was really key to the entire match. Jordan and I keep getting off to these slow starts but we really came together and were able to pull out a big match to clinch the doubles point."
Both teams came out swinging in singles with Florida State and NC State each winning three first sets. The Seminoles gained a quick 3-0 lead after Davis nabbed his 13th win of the season over Hodgson 6-3, 6-1 on court two. Lock dropped only two games in his 6-1, 6-1 win over Beck Bond on court six.
"I feel like I've been hitting the ball really well lately and just hitting the ball strong," continued Davis. "I really stepped up in the second set, which I've been struggling to do lately, and finished it off to make the score 2-0 which kind of got some momentum going."
At this point, NC State won two first set tiebreakers and forced a third set on another court to start making a comeback. Freshman Cristian Gonzalez Mendez had lost his first set but fought hard in the second set to win. In the third set, he was able to clinch the match with 5-7, 6-3, 6-3 win on court four over Sullivan.
"I thought we really got off to pretty well starts in singles," concluded Hultquist. "Benjamin (Lock) and Blake (Davis) won quickly. We kind of had a chance to take over the match but NC State did a good job of fighting back. The key match was Cristian (Gonzalez Mendez) losing that first set to come back to win."
After this win, the Wolfpack would go on to win the next three matches. Bucaro lost to Mudge 7-6 (3), 6-2 on court three to snap his undefeated record. Following that Kelly-Houston fell to No. 66 Pulgar 5-7, 6-2, 6-3 on court one. To finish the match, Austin Powell took down senior Jason Zafiros 7-6 (5), 1-6, 6-4 on court five.
The Seminoles play only one match next weekend with a Friday, March 30th bout against Maryland. Follow the team on twitter at twitter.com/fsu_mtennis.
Records: No. 31 Florida State (15-4, 6-0); No. 33 NC State (15-5, 1-3)