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Sunday, Mar 24, 2019 at 6:41 pm

No. 32 Syracuse Completes Comeback to Defeat No. 15 Florida State 4-3

By Brad Klein

Tennis Beat Reporter

Syracuse returned to Drumlins Country Club on Sunday with a lot to prove. Despite being ranked 32nd in the country and winning six of their last eight matches, the Orange have struggled against ranked opponents.

Today was a different story as Syracuse (11-6, 4-4 Atlantic Coast) came back to knock off No. 15 Florida State (14-4, 6-2 ACC) 4-3.

The Seminoles were ready to tomahawk chop the Orange when they were up 3-1. They had all of the momentum after sweeping doubles and dominating Libi Mesh and Sonya Trescheva on the fourth and sixth singles courts, respectively. But just FSU thought it had SU on its heels, Syracuse regained their balance.

“Coach [Shelley George] was telling me just to stay calm, and to not focus on the past,” Sofya Golubovskaya said. “Just to try focusing on the present.”

This message was transmitted to the entire team, and quickly replaced the temporary sense of panic. Dina Hegab capitalized on the fifth singles court for the Orange with a 6-1, 6-4 win. Shortly after, Miranda Ramirez won her match, capped off by a thrilling 8-6 tiebreak.

“It was very nerve-wracking, very stressful,” Ramirez said. “I just had to remember to stay calm, play my shots, play my game, knowing that I have done this before, I have been in these types of pressure situations before, so just try to finish the match.”

Suddenly, the duel was tied 3-3, and all eyes shifted to the third singles court and Golubovskaya. This was the first time her match had become the decisive point in the duel.

The third set with Florida State’s Ana Oparenovic was just beginning when Golubovskaya felt like she gained the upper hand. Golubovskaya stole the third game of the set after trailing 40-0. She took a 2-1 lead and had all the confidence she needed to capture the win.

But, Oparenovic wouldn’t give up that easily as she regained the lead 4-2. Golubovskaya began to doubt herself. Her teammates subdued those doubts with the overwhelming “Let’s Go Orange!” chants that the fans quickly joined in on.

“When she is playing, we all feel like we’re playing too. So we’re just as into it as she is,” Ramirez said. “We want her to win so badly, we want her to win for the team, we want her to win for herself. So, it was really great for all of us to get into it and fully back our teammate.”

Golubovskaya used that energy to propel her to her 3-6, 6-4, 7-5 marathon victory.

“They helped me so much,” Golubovskaya said. “It was amazing to play like this, where everyone is supporting you and everyone is watching.”

Head Coach Younes Limam also became a fan during Golubovskaya’s match, joining in on the cheers himself. After the duel, he put his coaching cap back on to reflect on the victory, noting this win over a ranked opponent could be a turning point in the season.

“I’m glad for our team with all the hard work they’ve put in to see that we have seen it but we need to see it consistently,” Limam said. “We’re out there. We’re not playing just to have a good match. We’re putting ourselves in positions to be successful.”

Syracuse’s win may have built up some much needed momentum with a four of its six remaining matches against ranked opponents. The Orange’s next match is an even tougher test, No. 1 North Carolina on on Friday at 4 p.m.

bwklein@syr.edu | @BradKlein15