Malibu, CA - The No. 33 Florida State men’s tennis team (7-0) topped the No. 45 Drake Bulldogs (0-1) today 4-3 to take on No. 7 Pepperdine Sunday to advance to the ITA National Indoors. Today’s win at the Ralphs-Straus Tennis Center on the campus of Pepperdine makes seven straight wins to start the season, which matches last year’s mark.
“It was a really hard fought win and we feel fortunate to win,” said head coach Dwayne Hultquist. “Drake is a very good team and (former Seminole) Davidson Kozlowski has done a great job. I’m proud of Dominic (Cotrone) to come through and beat a really high ranked guy. Benjamin (Lock) played amazing and Anderson (Reed) came through in the most opportune time. With him clinching four matches it shows he can really step it up when we need him. Another think I thought was helpful was Cristian coming back to win his second set to give us three opportunities to win.”
To begin the day, the two teams squared off in doubles. Seniors Jordan Kelly-Houston and Anderson Reed started it off with an 8-4 win over Robin Goodman and Jean Eramus on court two. The Seminole lost on court three with Alen Salibasic and Ben Lott defeated sophomore Dominic Cotrone and freshman Michael Rinaldi 8-4.
With the doubles point on the line, the match on court one became the deciding factor. Ranked No. 27 in the nation, senior Andres Bucaro and sophomore Benjamin Lock topped the No. 16 duo of Anis Ghorbel and James McKie 8-5 to get the 1-0 lead.
“Drake came out to start the match with a lot of energy,” said Reed. “Jordan and I felt that so we took our chances and were able to us that against their advantage to run away with the win on court two. We could feel Andres and Benjamin on court one feeding off our energy. All of us were able to raise our games to get the doubles point.”
The teams came back on the court with the Seminoles having two ranked players and Drake with four. Florida State won four of the six first set to get a slight advantage over the Bulldogs. Drake tied up the match when No. 68 McKie topped Kelly-Houston 6-2, 6-2 on court. The Seminoles won the get two matches right after each other with No. 99 Lock defeating Robin Goodman 6-0, 6-4 and No. 107 Cotrone upsetting No. 35 Ghorbel 6-2, 7-5.
At this point, the deciding point came down to sophomore Cristian Gonzalez Mendez, who was in his third set, and Reed and Bucaro who were both playing in second sets after winning their firsts. Reed got the win by topping Erasmis 7-6 (6), 7-6 (2) to get his four clinched match of the season. Drake would go on to win the next to matches to make the final score 4-3.
“I think that it was important to get my first tiebreaker under my belt,” explained Reed. “I was down 5-3 in the first and knew if I could just get it back, I could pull out the tiebreaker. In the second set he fought really hard. I knew Cristian, Andres or I had to close out the match so I really used my senior experience to pull out the tiebreaker.”