TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The No. 27 Florida State men’s tennis team (5-3) lost a thrilling 4-3 match to the No. 7 Florida Gators (6-0). The match, which went over four hours, came down to the final court at the Scott Speicher Tennis Center but the Gators pulled out the win their fourth straight match over Florida State.
“It was a great college tennis match,” said head coach Dwayne Hultquist. “Anytime you lose 4-3 you’re going to be disappointed and I think we’re disappointed. I felt like we could have won the match and we didn’t. I thought the crowd was very inspiring and a very fun environment to play in.”
In doubles play, sophomores Andres Bucaro (Guatemala City, Guatemala) and Anderson Reed (Daphne, Ala.) grabbed the first win of the day with a convincing 8-3 win on court two against Sekou Bangoura Jr. and Andres Butz. Florida’s Billy Federhofer and Bob van Overbeek defeated senior Clint Bowles (Tampa, Fla.) and freshman Blake Davis (Austin, Texas) 8-3 on court three.
With the doubles point on the line, senior Vahid Mirzadeh (Wellington, Fla.) and sophomore Connor Smith (Tampa, Fla.) came through with the upset on court one with a 8-5 win over the No. 11 duo of Alexandre Lacroix and Nassim Slilam.
The Seminoles tried to use the momentum in singles play, but dropped the first two matches in two sets. Smith came off the courts first with a 6-1, 7-5 loss to No. 28 Bangoura on court three. Reed came off court five losing to Spencer Newman 6-4, 7-5.
Being down 2-1, the Seminoles started a comeback on the courts. No. 42 Mirzadeh faced the No. 4 player in the nation in Lacroix. After previously losing to Lacroix at the 2009 Wilson/ITA Southeast Championships, Mirzadeh came up strong in the third set to get the upset. Mirzadeh topped him 7-5, 2-6, 6-4 on court one to tie the match at 2-2.
“I’ve put in a lot of work so it was a good reward but unfortunately we didn’t get that team win,” said Mirzadeh. “I’m proud of this team for laying it out there. We’re getting closer and closer against these top ten teams.”
The Gators quickly won the next match with Bucaro losing 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 on court six to Federhofer. No. 37 Bowles quickly tied the match back up with a 7-6(3), 4-6, 6-4 win over No. 52 van Overbeek on court two.
“I thought we had a great effort from Vahid (Mirzadeh) beating the No. 4 player in the country,” continued Hultquist. “He and Connor (Smith) won against the No. 11 team in the country. That’s terrific effort, Vahid was hurt and he gutted it out and came back and won. I also think that was the best Clint’s (Bowles) played all year.”
The final match came down to Davis and Slilam on court four. The freshman won his first set but lost his second to force a third set. The ‘Nole was cramping, at one point serving the ball underhanded, but stayed on the court until the final point. Slilam was able to get the 4-6, 7-5, 6-2 win over Davis and clinch the match for Florida.
“I thought we were close,” concluded Hultquist. “Maybe if Blake (Davis) doesn’t cramp he wins the match. We had four three-set matches and won two. Had we been able to get court three and five into the third set, I think that would have made a difference.”
“It’s tough for Blake at the end with full body cramping,” finished Mirzadeh. ‘It came down to him and it was unfortunate that he had to cramp. We’re just going to have to rest up and work hard for Texas next week.”
The Seminoles stay at home and face yet another top 10 team as No. 5 Texas comes to town on Saturday at 11 a.m. Admission is free at the Scott Speicher Tennis Center.
No. 7 Florida 4 def. No. 27 Florida State 3
1) Smith/Mirzadeh (FSU) def. No. 11 Lacroix/Slilam (UF) 8-5
2) Bucaro/Reed (FSU) def. Bangoura/Butz (UF) 8-3
3) Federhofer/van Overbeek (UF) def. Bowles/Davis (FSU) 8-5
Order of finish: 2, 3, 1*
1) No. 42 Vahid Mirzadeh (FSU) def. No. 4 Alexandre Lacroix (UF) 7-5, 2-6, 6-4
2) No. 37 Clint Bowles (FSU) def. No. 52 Bob van Overbeek (UF) 7-6(3), 4-6, 6-3
3) No. 28 Sekou Bangoura (UF) def. Connor Smith (FSU) 6-1, 7-5
4) Nassim Slilam (UF) def. Blake Davis (FSU)4-6, 7-5, 6-2
5) Spencer Newman (UF) def. Anderson Reed (FSU) 6-4, 7-5
6) Billy Federhofer (UF) def. Andres Bucaro (FSU) 6-4, 4-6, 6-3
Order of finish: 3, 5, 1, 6, 2, 4*