Tallahassee, FL - Coming off a fantastic 2009-10 season where they made it to their first ever NCAA Sweet 16, the Florida State women’s tennis team is set to officially kick-off the 2011 spring dual match season against Florida International this Saturday in a 12:30 match at the Scott Speicher Center.
“We are geared up and ready to go,” said head coach Jennifer Hyde. “We are definitely ready to start beating up on some other opponents other than ourselves. We are excited to be back at home, playing here. The girls are pretty fired up and I think they’re ready for the weekend.”
The team begins the 2011 season as the highest ever preseason ranked team in program history checking in at No. 14 in the ITA Division I Rankings. Leading the way for the Seminoles is senior Katie Rybakova who is currently ranked the No. 42 in the country by the ITA, and sophomore Noemie Scharle who begins the year as the team’s highest ranked player at No. 18 despite missing last season due to injury. Rybakova will be shooting for a school record fourth consecutive time as an All-ACC player while senior Federica Suess and sophomore’s Amy Sargeant and Francesca Segarelli, the reigning ACC Freshman of the Year, provide the Seminoles with a deep and experienced roster. Because of the wealth of talent on at her disposal, Hyde will have the ability to mix around her lineup to see where players fit.
“Our lineup is going to be all over the place this year,” said Hyde. “We are so deep we have people that can play 1-3, 1-4, and then the 4-6. It is pretty wide open this year, so we will definitely juggle things around and give people some opportunities to prove themselves. We are really looking forward to seeing how our two freshmen (Ruth Seaborne and Manon Veldman) perform in a dual match setting. It should be exciting.”
Florida State will play a demanding schedule as the Atlantic Coast Conference will continue to be one the strongest conferences in the nation this season as it holds five of the top 15 nationally-ranked schools, seven in the top 25 and nine schools in the top 52. No. 6 North Carolina leads the way with No. 7 Duke, No. 11 Clemson, No. 12 Miami, No. 16 Georgia Tech and No. 24 Virginia taking the other top 25 spots.
With so many tough matches coming up this season, Hyde knows how important is to start out with a win. However, with the gained experience in 2010 by the current players as well as the additions of the two talented freshman, Hyde and associate head coach Oliver Foreman look to lead the ‘Noles to even higher levels of excellence in the conference and beyond.
It’s very important that we start out with some success this weekend,” said Hyde. “We are heading into the National Indoors next weekend against three really good teams and it would be great for us to start out or spring season defending our home court. We expect to have some very good and tough matches with FIU, we expect it to be another dog fight, but we will be ready for them.”