BRADENTON, Fla. - The No. 29 Florida State men's tennis team faced off against No. 7 Pepperdine on Sunday, February 24 at the IMG Academy. The Seminoles and Waves participated in the first college match ever played at the Stadium Courts in a packed, energetic setting. The Seminoles ended up losing the match 5-2.
"It was a great crowd and I appreciate the Florida State supporters that came out here today," said head coach Dwayne Hultquist. "Pepperdine is an outstanding team and it showed today why they are No. 7 in the nation. I don't think we won the big points in doubles. At one doubles we lost a lot of our deciding points."
"Well it means a lot to IMG and to all the students here to actually see the spirit of college tennis and the why the coaches get into it. But you're not playing for me, you're playing for the college and that's very important because it shows how important teamwork is. We hope to do a lot more of this. IMG is thrilled to have two outstanding universities here."
In doubles play, the Seminoles took an early lead but the Waves pushed the momentum to their side by coming back to win 8-4 on court one and 8-3 on court three.
"I was proud of Benjamin today," said head coach Dwayne Hultquist. "I feel like he played on of his best matches in his career today. Michael had a very good win over an outstanding player who has been a very good player for them the last four years. We want to thank IMG and I hope a lot of people got to watch it online and we hope to do it in the future again."
In singles play, the Seminoles were able to win three first sets, but were only able to capitalize on two of those matches. Senior Anderson Reed was the first off the courts with a 6-1, 6-0 loss to Francis Alcantara on court four. On court one, No. 99 Dominic Cotrone, a sophomore from Bradenton, Fla., lost the first set to No. 4 Sebastian Fanselow. In the beginning of a tight second set, Cotrone lost the match due to a forfeit.
With the Seminoles down 3-0, senior Jordan Kelly-Houston started to come back in the second set but was unable to hold on long enough so he lost to No. 89 Alex Sarkissian 6-1, 6-4 on court two. Freshman Michael Rinaldi nabbed the first win of the day for the Seminoles with a solid 6-2, 6-4 win over Mousheg Hovhannisyan on court six. Rinaldi was down 2-1 in the first set but won five straight games to win.
"The start of the match I got broken in the first three games," said Rinaldi. "I broke back and just stayed solid from there. For the second set I just wanted to be solid and play high on him and waited for my time to break him."
Junior Blake Davis won his first set 6-1 but lost his next two sets to fall 1-6, 6-1, 6-4 on court five to David Sofaer. Sophomore Benjamin Lock won the last match of the day upsetting No. 105 Finn Tearnery 7-6 (4), 6-4 to finish the day.
"I just tried to be as intense and loud as possible," said Lock. "I knew I needed to be confident and to get real fired up. The surface suited my game style very well and used external factors to my advantage such as the weather and the crowd. I'm coming off of two great weeks of training. The main this today is that I played my game and the way I wanted to play."
The team returns to Tallahassee this weekend with a huge match against No. 15 Texas on Friday and USF on Sunday. For more information, check back to Seminoles.com. You can also follow the team at Twitter.com/FSU_MTennis.
#7 Pepperdine 5, #28 Florida State 2
1. Francis Alcantara/Finn Tearney (PEP) def. #52 Andres Bucaro/Benjamin Lock (FS) 8-4
2. Jordan Kelly-Houston/Anderson Reed (FS) vs. Alex Sarkissian/Sebastian Fanselow (PEP) 6-5
3. Mousheg Hovhannisyan/David Sofaer (PEP) def. Dominic Cotrone/Michael Rinaldi (FS) 8-3
Order of finish: 1, 3
1. #4 Sebastian Fanselow (PEP) def. #99 Dominic Cotrone (FS) 6-1, 3-2
2. #89 Alex Sarkissian (PEP) def. Jordan Kelly-Houston (FS) 6-1, 6-4
3. Benjamin Lock (FS) def. #105 Finn Tearney (PEP) 7-6 (7-4), 6-4
4. Francis Alcantara (PEP) def. Anderson Reed (FS) 6-1, 6-0
5. David Sofaer (PEP) def. Blake Davis (FS) 1-6, 6-1, 6-4
6. Michael Rinaldi (FS) def. Mousheg Hovhannisyan (PEP) 6-2, 6-4
Order of finish: 4, 1, 2, 6, 5, 3
Video Recap of Sunday's match: