TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The No. 28 Florida State men’s tennis team (9-2) lost its first match at home this season against No. 11 Florida (6-0) on Saturday. The Seminoles pulled out two singles win at the packed Scott Speicher Tennis Center including an upset and come-from-behind win but lost the tight match 5-2.
“It was an awesome crowd today,” said Hultquist. “I hope the fans had a good time and come back in the future. I thought we were poised to make some runs in singles. The key to the match was that there were four close first sets and Florida won all of those. If we would have won some of those sets, things would have turned out differently. It was our first time we’ve lost the doubles point. For me that’s always been an important point. Florida played very well winning the deuce points.”
In doubles play, the Seminoles rushed out to get the early lead, but the Gators came back to win two matches for the doubles point. Seniors Anderson Reed and Jordan Kelly-Houston lost 8-3 to Michael Alford and Florent Diep on court two. On court three, sophomore Dominic Cotrone and freshman Michael Rinaldi fell to Bob van Overbeek and Stephane Piro 8-3. The match on court one was stopped when the doubles point was clinched.
In singles play, the two teams came out battling with one another. Florida State once again had an early lead but Florida came back to win five first sets. Coming off the courts first was sophomore Benjamin Lock and Piro. The Seminole lost on court three 6-4, 6-2. Almost immediately after the, Reed lost his first match of the year 6-2, 6-4 to Gordon Watson on court four. Senior Andres Bucaro came off the courts next with a 7-5, 6-1 loss to Alford on court five. That win clinched the match for the Gators.
The next finished match of the day was when No. 107 Cotrone upset No. 51 van Overbeek on court one. Cotrone continued his stellar play this season with a strong 6-2, 6-4 win over the seasoned Gator.
“When you play a really good player a second time, it’s really hard to beat them again,” said Hultquist. “I was proud of Dominic to be able to win convincingly on court number one. He had beaten Bob in the fall and then won again. I like how Dominic had a lot of energy today. He played a lot of tough long games and grinded those out to win them.”
Using the momentum from Cotrone’s match, junior Blake Davis came back from down one set. On court six, Davis and Billy Federhofer battled it out in a third set tiebreaker, with the crowd behind him, Davis won 2-6, 7-5, 1-0 (10-5).
“It’s good to get Blake back in the line-up,” concluded Hultquist. “He’s still not 100% but he’s a guy we need to be in there contributing. For him to come back and win is a strong performance and shows he’s getting better from his surgery to where he needs to be.”
The team has next week off and take on Pepperdine at Bradenton, Fla. at the IMG Academy on February 24.