April 4, 2014
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The No. 30 Florida State men's tennis team (15-8, 3-4) fought in a grueling match on Friday night dropping to No. 9 North Carolina (19-5, 6-1) 5-2. With two three-set matches and three tiebreakers, the deciding point was not made until after four hours played at the Scott Speicher Tennis Center.
"I thought the team played well and competed hard," said head coach Dwayne Hultquist. "I liked seeing Michael, even though he was sick, coming back in his third set. I liked seeing Cristian battling back and Blake coming back. This is the best UNC team I've seen since I've been here. I liked the atmosphere and how energized everyone was."
The two teams started out in doubles which lasted over an hour. UNC quickly got a win on court three with Ronnie Schneider and Jack Murray topping sophomore Michael Rinaldi and freshman Grayson Goldin 8-2. Courts one and two were battling back and forth until Carolina got the edge winning 8-6 on court two where Oystein Steiro and Nelson Vick beat junior Cristian Gonzalez Mendez and sophomore Marco Nunez. Carolina closed out the sweep by winning on court one.
Needing to win four of the six singles matches for the win, the Seminoles got three first set wins to help gain some momentum. Nunez quickly won 6-1, 6-3 over Steiro on court four to tie the match at 1-1. Carolina regained the lead as No. 25 Schneider topped No. 101 Dominic Cotrone 6-1, 6-2.
The Tar Heels took the 3-1 lead as Vick topped freshman Jake Albo 6-2, 7-5 on court six. With the Seminoles needing to win the rest of the matches for the win, senior Blake Davis posted a strong 6-2, 7-6 (6) win over Esben Hess-Olesen on court three to make the score 3-2.
Rinaldi had won his first set against Murray but dropped the second to play in a third set. Gonzalez Mendez dropped his first set to No. 58 Brett Clark but came back to win a tight second set tiebreaker to force a third and give Florida State a chance to win the match.
Fighting illness between each game, Rinaldi was down 5-3 in the third set but came back to tie the set and force a tiebreaker. Unable to hold on, Murray won 1-6, 6-2, 7-6 (0) to clinch the match for the Tar Heels. Gonzalez Mendez was unable to hold onto his match as well as Clark won 7-5, 6-7 (6), 6-3.
Florida State closes out their home schedule Sunday at noon as they take on No. 13 Duke. 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 (3,2,1); Singles (4,1,6,3,5,2)