UCF Edged 4-3 by FSU in the NCAA Tournament

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (UCFKnights.com) – The No. 30 UCF men’s tennis team season came to an end at the hands of the No. 28 Florida State Seminoles who beat the Knights by a score of 4-3 in the first round of the NCAA tournament. The match was as about as tight as either team had seen all season long.

The doubles point was a war in itself. The Seminoles struck first, snapping No. 18 Bogdan Pavel and Trey Hilderbrand’s nine match winning streak on court one as Sebastian Arcila and Alex Knaff topped UCF’s top duo 6-3. On court three, the Knights fought through a duce point down 4-5 and saved match point. This was be the turning point of the doubles segment.

Moments after the events on court three unfolded, Gabriel Decamps and Juan Pablo Grassi Mazzuchi won a close 6-4 decision on court two to defeat Juan Martin Jalif and Lucas Poullain to even the doubles point. The win was the eighth straight victory for the Knights’ No. 2 duo.

UCF locked down the doubles point on the lone remaining court as Alan Rubio and Mikhail Sokolovskiy won three straight games over Chase Wood and Bryn Nahrung to win 7-5.

Singles play saw FSU take the early edge. Court five fell first as Richard Thongoana edged Hilderbrand 6-3, 6-4. The Seminoles took another singles point as Rubio was defeated by Knaff on court two by a score of 6-3, 6-3.

Sokolovskiy tied the match at 2-2 with his victory on court six, triumphing over Bhullar 6-3, 6-3. Sokolovskiy collected win No. 30 on the 2018-2019 campaign. He will sit in the record books with the third best single season win total. His 2019 run ended with him winning his last seven matches.

FSU went up again in the match as they took court one. No. 30 Pullain beat No. 43 Decamps 7-5, 6-3 to take a 3-2 match lead.

Grassi Mazzuchi won in a tight first set tiebreaker 7-6 (7-1) before rolling through the second set and winning it 6-1 over Seguillion to tie the match at 3-3. He finished out the season winning six straight matches.

Court three was destined be the deciding court in the match. Here, Pavel and Jalif were in a tight battle to decide who would get to move onto the second round of the NCAA tournament. They were the only court to make it to three sets.

With Pavel and Jalif’s match tied at 3-3 and in the third set, the two were locked in a deuce point. Jalif was serving and double faulted. Pavel celebrated and Jalif was frustrated as both should be in that circumstance. However, as both players made their way back to the bench, FSU’s coach went to the official to appeal the call. The official then overruled the double fault and said that the serve was good, awarding Jalif the 4-3 edge.

This next chunk of information comes straight from Part 1, Section J, Number 1 of the ITA rule book:

J. Appeal to Official of Player’s Call
1. Appeal must be immediate. When a match has an official in direct observation of the court, a player may make an immediate verbal appeal of an opponent’s call. Coaches may instruct their player to appeal as long as it is done immediately. The official shall not prompt the request for an appeal.

As previously stated, both players were already on their way back to the benches. There was no call ever from Jalif to appeal for an overrule. The rule also says that the coach can advise their player to appeal it, but instead the coach went straight for the appeal himself, which is not allowed.

After that occurred, Jalif went on to win the next game and take a 5-3 third set lead. With Pavel holding a 30-15 lead, the skies opened up and rain began to pelt the courts. The rain did not let up until much later in the day, as Pavel and Jalif sat for over three hours to wait for the weather to pass. When play resumed, Jalif took the game and ultimately the match, edging Pavel 4-6, 6-4, 6-3.

UCF’s season comes to a close with a record of 15-11. The Knights young stars showed their stuff all season long and proved that there is a promising future ahead for the Black and Gold.

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