ATHENS, Ga. -- Florida State defeated Arizona in the opening round of the 2014 NCAA tournament in a close 4-3 decision at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex.
"We've been talking for weeks about how we've been on the cusp of having that season-defining win," FSU head coach Jennifer Hyde said. "We got over that hurdle [Friday] and I couldn't be happier. We've continued to improve this semester and this one is as sweet as any win we've had this season."
The win moves FSU to 16-12 on the year, advancing the Seminoles into the second round for the first time since 2011.
The deciding match was on court No. 2 as redshirt junior Daneika Borthwick was locked in a battle with Kim Stubbe. It was the only match left on court midway through the second set.
Borthwick was down 5-3 early before charging back to win four consecutive games to take the first set 7-5. In the second, Stubbe broke serve early forcing Borthwick to break in order to stay alive at 5-3, but she dropped the set in a tight 6-3 decision.
Borthwick, a Cumbria, England native, started the third set by going up a break 2-1 to spark her four-game run to a 5-1 lead. Stubbe would then hold her own serve before Borthwick closed it out 7-5, 3-6, 6-2.
Starting off the match, the doubles duo of Kerrie Cartwright and Borthwick made quick work of Lacey Smyth and Shayne Austin, defeating the Wildcats by a score of 8-2. As Cartwright and Borthwick earned the edge for the doubles point, both court Nos. 2 and 3 trailed 4-3.
Mia Vriens and Kristina Schleich had a big break to tie their match on court No. 3 at 5-5, but Arizona's Akilah James and Susan McRann won three consecutive games to close out the match 8-5.
The deciding match would be on court No. 2 as Daniela Schippers and Duda Santos came back from a two-game deficit to tie the match at 4-4. Arizona's team of Kim Stubbe and Lauren Marker made a three-game run before the Seminoles could tighten the score 7-5. Stubbe and Marker closed out the match by breaking serve, giving Arizona the doubles point.
In singles, the Seminoles jumped out to four first-set wins.
Schleich would tie the overall match score 1-1 after she dominated Austin on court No. 5, 6-0, 6-1. Shortly after Schleich's win, Vriens put the Seminoles ahead 2-1 after picking up a 6-3, 6-2 victory versus No. 79 Lauren Marker.
Schippers added to the lead with a solid win on court No. 4 against James 6-4, 6-2.
"Daniela got down 3-1 early," Hyde said. "She fought off a couple breaks and then just dominated like she's been doing all semester."
Arizona would grab the next two points, tying the match at 3-3 behind victories from court Nos. 1 and 6.
Laurence Porry battled on court No. 6, but fell to Laura Oldham 6-4, 6-3 while Cartwright dropped her match to Smyth 6-4, 6-2, leaving the deciding match to be on court No. 2.
"It was a true team effort," Hyde said. "You lose the doubles point and then you turn around against a top team and win four singles matches to clinch, that tells you a lot about the guts of this team."
The Seminoles will take on top-seeded Georgia at 4 p.m. ET Saturday.