Tallahassee, FL - The No. 22 Florida State women's tennis team (4-3) couldn’t quite find their rhythm today against the No. 1 Florida Gators (11-1) as they fell in a hard fought 6-1 loss at the Scott Speicher Tennis Center.
The ‘Noles began the match off on the wrong foot losing the doubles point as Florida took a 1-0 lead into singles and never relinquished their lead.
“Honestly I entered today thinking this team could beat any team they step on court with, but I am not sure they believed that today,” said head coach Jennifer Hyde. “That showed very early in the match during doubles. Obviously Florida is a very good team. They are very refined and don’t make a lot of mistakes. That is one specific thing that really hurt us today (mistakes), especially in doubles.”
Losing to the top ranked team in the country is never a huge surprise, but what was disappointing to the Seminole leader was the team’s uncharacteristic play at the beginning of the match.
“I haven’t seen the team come out this flat in doubles all season, and funny enough I believe we finally have the best doubles teams we have ever had, so it was quite a conflict for us to start off the match like we did,” said Hyde. “I think we gave Florida a little too much respect, and we didn’t keep things simple. In situations like this you just need to go out and play your game, do what you do best, and not try to play above a level your capable of. You don’t need to play outside of your comfort zone, you just need to play solid. And I think we just fell a little short of that today.”
The team will now just have to put this loss behind them and move on as there still a lot of tennis left to be played.
“"I think now we just have to get back in the saddle,” said Hyde. “We have a lot of big matches coming up in the next ten days and we have to keep improving and getting better."
Not all was lost as No. 49 ranked senior Katie Rybakova had a special day winning the first ACC Player of the Week honor of her career and followed that by defeating the Gators top ranked player, No. 7 Allie Will 6-1, 6-4.
“Obviously Katie getting a win against the number seven player in the country was huge,” said Hyde. “She got a monkey off her back today closing out the match like she did. I am extremely happy for her, especially as a senior playing Florida for the last time at home and getting a win like that. I know she is disappointed in the team loss, but there are some individual triumphs we can definitely take from the day.”
Florida State will have a quick turnaround as it heads south to Tampa to face in-state rival South Florida Bulls, ranked 55th in the country. FSU will have to brace itself for stiff competition with South Florida bringing in No. 43 Irene Rehberger, No. 76 Janette Bejlkova, and No. 106 Ecaterina Vasenina. Doubles will also be a battle between both programs with the No. 42 tandem of Janette Bejlkova and Loreta Alonso Martinez representing the Bulls.
As always fans can follow the match with live stats on www.seminoles.com, Twitter @FSU_WTennis and the Florida State Women's Tennis fan page on Facebook.