Feb. 19, 2013
by Layne Herdt (Seminoles.com)
Dominic Cotrone found modest success during his freshman year at Florida State. Playing mostly doubles Cotrone only cracked the singles lineup six times.
"The summer before my freshman year I had some back issues so we definitely wanted to ease into," Cotrone said. "Looking back on it, it definitely gave me a springboard into my sophomore year so I wouldn't change anything."
Motivated by wanting more from his career Cotrone set his goals high for his sophomore campaign and got started on the right foot winning a junior tournament during the summer.
"Not only did he win the tournament, but he had the pressure of playing younger guys," head coach Dwayne Hultquist said. "Then he followed it up and went to National Clay Courts and got third-place in the doubles so he really had a great summer."
"I knew I was going to have some added pressure because I was going back and playing the juniors," Cotrone said. "But I knew if I played to the caliber of tennis that I wanted to that I would come out on top and that's what happened."
Cotrone kept the momentum going during the fall season earning 10 wins, good enough for the coaches to award him the number one spot in the lineup.
"I was really excited," Cotrone said. "I was really hoping that would be the case and that I could really test myself and see how I stacked up against the best players in the nation."
"He handles pace well," Hultquist said. " So people who play big and hit the ball well, he can hit it back hard on them. He has athleticism around the net to finish and he's got a good serve and a great return of serve. I think that's maybe one of his biggest strengths so those are all key ingredients to be able to do that.
The move has paid off for the Seminoles with the Bradenton, Fla., native owning a 10-1 record against each opponents best player.
"It's great for the team," sophomore Benjamin Lock said. "It gives everyone else on the team inspiration showing on court one, the hardest spot, someone's doing really well. It really inspires everyone else playing around them."
Despite a spring full of tough matches, Cotrone looks forward to the opportunity to play against he best each time he steps on the court.
"I'm just looking forward to seeing where I stack up," Cotrone said. "I know I'm young and a lot of these guys are going to be older than me so I'm just trying to go into the match with my head up and just know that there's no pressure and technically on paper I'm supposed to lose because I'm the underdog and that just fires me up and I just want to see if I can take out some of the top guys."
Now the question is whether Cotrone can turn this season's success into something greater, which would only mean good things for the Seminole tennis program.