The No. 17 ranked Tech men’s tennis team faced off against the Florida State Seminoles in Atlanta March 9, hoping to extend its five-match winning streak against a fierce ACC rival. The team had lost just eight individual matches in its past five matches against 23 wins. Sunday’s match also proved to go in Tech’s favor as the team rolled past the Seminoles, 6-1.
The match against Seminoles marked the opening of the Jackets ACC schedule as they had only previously competed against teams from the SEC, the Southern Conference and the Big 12 conference.
Sunday’s match began with the doubles portion, consisting of three matches each. Seniors Guillermo Gomez and Dean O’Brien lined up against the Seminoles in the day’s first match. The duo rolled to an easy victory, 8-4.
The middle doubles match proved to be the most intriguing. The No. 15 ranked doubles team of Tech sophomore Juan Spir and junior Kevin King were pitted against the Seminole’s No. 13 ranked team of senior Vahid Mirzadeh and sophomore Connor Smith. Though the Seminoles are unranked as a team, Mirzadeh and Smith are one of the most talented duos in college tennis and were looking to add to their already impressive record this season. Spir and King also came in on a hot streak, having contributed quality doubles wins in Tech’s past six matches. The pair did not slow down Sunday as they raced to an early 3-1 lead and never looked back, sealing an impressive 8-4 victory over their higher ranked opponents.
The final doubles match of the day came courtesy of seniors Eliot Potvin and Ryan Smith. The duo played the closest doubles match but won in a back and forth match, beating Florida State’s sophomore team of Anderson Reed and Andres Bucaro, 8-5.
The singles portion of the day also went to Tech, as the Jackets dropped only one match. King played one of the first singles games and won handily, 6-1, 6-0 against the Seminole’s freshman Blake Davis.
O’Brien went against FSU’s Reed in a long, back and forth match, with the first set going to 7-5. After this O’Brien settled down to take the second set 6-2 to seal the win.
Potvin also took down his opponent the Seminole’s Smith, in straight sets, 6-4, 7-5.
In what proved to be the most even match of the competition, No. 50 ranked Spir took on Florida State’s No. 60 ranked senior Clint Bowles. The two went shot-for-shot in two lengthy sets, both of which went to tiebreakers. Spir narrowly edged his opponent at the end, winning the second set 7-6 (9-7), after taking the first set 7-5.
The final single’s match featured each team’s top ranked singles player, with the No. 16 ranked Gomez for Tech and the No. 21 ranked Vahid Mirzadeh. The two were very closely matched, as the each player took a set off each other before the deciding third and final set.
Gomez jumped out to an early lead in the penultimate match of a cold and cloudy day in Atlanta, winning the first set, 6-4. Gomez slipped slightly in the following set, allowing Mirzadeh to tie the match after taking the second set 6-2. The last set was Gomez’s best as he turned the tables on his opponent and won handily, 6-2 to seal the win.
The second set of Gomez’s match was the first singles set Tech lost outside of an early match loss by sophomore Magin Ortiga, who fell 6-1, 6-0 to Florida State’s Jordan Kelly-Houston.
With the win, Tech improves to 8-1 on the season and 1-0 in conference play. The Jackets will play their final two out of conference opponents, William and Mary and Illinois State, before heading into its all-conference schedule, leading up to two late season matchups against No. 1 ranked Virginia and No. 9 ranked Duke.
Tech will look for strong play from its singles players as well as continued excellence from its talented doubles teams leading into the ACC tournament and beyond, to the NCAA Regional and Championship at the end of this season.
The Jackets fared well last season in ACC play, losing five matches against nine wins.
The Jackets’ next ACC match will be against the Miami Hurricanes, in Coral Gables, Fla., on March 13.