The No. 15 Florida State women's tennis team (2-1) will play host to the No. 61 Auburn Tigers (0-2) on Friday, February 11th at 4pm in a big ACC-SEC match at the Scott Speicher Tennis Center.
“We are excited to get back playing at home again,” said head coach Jennifer Hyde. “Our match with Auburn on Friday will be our last home match until we play Florida here on March 1st. We’ve had time to work on some things after that tough loss to Washington a few weeks ago. Although you never want to lose a match like that, so much can be learned from it. I know we took a lot from that weekend as a whole and we are keeping our focus on the process of improving and getting better each day. We are ready for Auburn and are really excited to be playing at home. We have had a really good week of practice and look forward to getting back into competition mode.”
In what will be just the fourth home match of the dual-match season, Florida State looks to defend their home courts before road trips to Miami and Georgia Tech to open the ACC season.
“I love playing at home because obviously this is our courts and our house,” said sophomore Francesca Segarelli. “We are familiar with Auburn since we played them in the fall. They have good players so we know it’s going to be a tough match but we feel like we are prepared for it.”
Leading the `Noles Sunday will be No. 18 Noemie Scharle and No. 42 Katie Rybakova. Auburn will bring one of the top doubles teams in the country with the No. 21 ranked tandem of Paulina Schippers and Jacqueline Kasler.
“Auburn is going to be gritty,” said Hyde. “They are that way every single year. They are not highly ranked right now, but they are a good SEC team that plays the best teams in the country and they want the opportunity to come get us at home. We will definitely need to rise to the occasion.”
FSU leads the all-time series record against Auburn 19-12 with the last meeting being in 2009 when the `Noles tamed the Tigers 4-0 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The victory was FSU's third-consecutive win over Auburn in a rivalry that dates back to 1982.
Following Friday’s match Florida State will travel south to Coral Gables to take on the No. 10 Miami Hurricanes (3-0) this Sunday for the first ACC match of the season.
We will head down to Miami for what will undoubtedly be a dogfight of a match against Miami,” said Hyde. “We always have great matches with them, it’s never pretty and it’s always feisty and very competitive. I think our matches with Miami definitely bring out the best in us and we will compete with them knowing that state pride is on the line. We want to make a statement and start our ACC season off on the right foot.”
Miami has three players currently ranked in the ITA top 100 in No. 16 Bianca Eichkorn, No. 98 Anna Barnstein and No. 99 Danielle Mills. While the Hurricanes pose a difficult match, the Seminole players know it’s matches like this that will get them prepared for the postseason and another run at the Sweet 16.
“It’s pretty exciting to start ACC play against Miami,” added senior Federica Suess. “It’s my last year, so I definitely would like to leave here beating them. We like tough matches like this because it gets us ready for nationals. I like having good competition beforehand because then you know what level you need to be at and I think it’s great to be part of such a strong conference.”
“Playing the Hurricanes is always a big match,” added Segarelli. It’s always good competition and we love that, and they love playing us too. It’s going to be great, the environment is going to be great, and we are all pumped up for it.”
The first fans to arrive on Friday will receive a special Seminole magnet. 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.