Seminoles Earn First Ever Victory Over No. 12 Florida, 5-2
To be the first in history to do something is special but to be the first in Florida State history to beat the Gators ... now that brings it to a whole new level. Saturday at the Scott Speicher Tennis Center, despite strong winds and threatening weather, the No. 24 Florida State women's tennis team (7-2) made history with a 5-2 victory over No. 12 Florida (6-4).
"We were 0-32 vs. Florida until today," FSU head coach Jennifer Hyde said. "The fact that we'd never beaten them before, that in itself is really special for these kids to have ownership in being the only team to ever beat Florida. That's something that will always be with them, no matter where they go in life, they are always going to be the team to beat Florida for the first time in school history. Having that ownership and having that under their belt, it's a beautiful thing. That's why you play college tennis - to be in situations like that and they came through when it mattered and took advantage of some opportunities. I'm just very proud of the huge team effort we had today."
Senior Ania Rynarzewska clinched the monumental victory for the Seminoles. After cruising to a 6-4 win over Florida's Barbara Pinterova in the first set, the senior found herself down 4-3 in the second set, then forced a tie at 5-5 and scored the final two points for the 7-5 decision.
"Ania, as a senior, has played Florida every year and has come up short," Hyde said. "We came close a few years ago and for a senior to clinch the match, that's again, something she'll have with her for the rest of her life, something she'll never forget - none of us will. It was a huge team effort today and it was really story book for Ania to be the one to clinch it."
On the court alongside Rynarzewska was junior co-captain Lauren Macfarlane whose three-set victory was icing on the cake. After falling 6-2 in the first set and falling behind 3-5 in the second, she rallied for the 7-5 win and dominated set three with a 6-1 final score.
"They (Rynarzewska and Macfarlane) both had match points at the same time and I remember wondering who was going to get it," Hyde said. "I was hoping it was Ania because I wanted the senior to have that. Then I just saw the team run out and I put my hands on my head and just realized, they did it, they did it. They just made history like no other team has ever made here before. I saw them run and hug each other and as a coach, that's the coolest thing to sit and watch.
"For Lauren, down a set 3-5, to find a way to fight back in that second set was tremendous because it took the pressure off of Ania down there," Hyde said. "Tremendous heart and guts, that's basically what you get with MacFarlane, day in and day out."
Things started off well for Florida as the Gators took the doubles' point, including two come-from-behind victories. UF's No. 2 doubles team of Marrit Boostra/Joanna Mather led from the get-go and finished with a solid 8-4 victory over the Seminoles' Noemie Schlarle/Federica Suess but the other two wins didn't come easily. FSU's No. 1 doubles team of Jessica Sucupira/Lauren Mcfarlane began with a 3-1 lead but UF's Jessica Alexander/Anastasia Revzina rallied back with five straight points and went on for the 8-5 win to clinch the point for UF. Despite a 4-1 lead, Florida State's Bonny Davidson/Katie Rybakova fell 8-5 to Florida's Barbara Pinterova/Lauren Wolken at No. 3 doubles.
"The thing about rivalries, it doesn't really matter who's ranked where," Hyde said. "On those big days, anything can happen and a number's a number but when you step on court, when you have those rivalries, there's so much emotion, there's so much heart with those match-ups. Basically it doesn't matter if Florida's ranked two or 20, it's Florida. Anyone who's a Seminole or a Gator understands that rivalry, clearly.
"For our team, this is a big hurdle with regards to a leap, understanding that yes, historically-speaking, Florida may have a traditionally more-successful program but we're up to par," Hyde said. "We're up to that, we're getting there, slowly establishing ourselves as one of those elite programs as well."