DURHAM, N.C. - The Duke women's tennis team concluded its 2012 season just a few weeks ago after making its 24th straight trip to the NCAA tournament and eighth semifinal appearance in program history. The Blue Devils finished the season ranked No. 3 for the second straight season and had all six singles players and three teams of doubles in the final rankings released on Wednesday, June 6, by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA).
"When we came in at the beginning of the year we knew we had a lot of talent, but we didn't know what kind of team we would have in a true sense of the word team - playing for each other and playing together," said head coach Jamie Ashworth. "I think that we were playing our best tennis at the end of the year when it mattered the most."
Freshman Beatrice Capra led all Blue Devils in the final ITA poll at No. 2 in singles, while sophomore Hanna Mar was 56th, sophomore Rachel Kahan was 68th, junior Mary Clayton was 70th, freshman Monica Turewicz was 100th and freshman Ester Goldfeld was 101st. Duke and Florida, who met in the NCAA semifinals, were the only two programs finishing with six ranked players in the final poll.
Capra posted a 32-5 overall record, a 23-2 mark in dual matches and was an NCAA quarterfinalist in her rookie season. The 30th different All-American in program history, she earned a plethora of accolades, including ACC Player of the Year, ACC Freshman of the Year, ACC Tournament Most Valuable Player, ITA National Co-Rookie of the Year and ITA Carolina Region Rookie of the Year. Her 33 doubles wins were tied for first on the team, and were the second most by a freshman in program history.
Kahan, Mar and Goldfeld joined Capra as All-ACC selections, with Kahan earning her second straight nod, while Mar and Goldfeld captured their first. Kahan finished the season with a 26-5 overall record and a 23-3 dual match record, while Mar posted a 30-15 overall singles record and a 17-5 mark in dual matches on her way to an at-large bid in the NCAA Singles Championship. Mar also tied Capra for the most doubles wins on the team. Goldfeld compiled a 25-10 overall mark, including a 17-5 ledger in dual matches, while spending most of the season playing No. 2 singles and No. 1 doubles for the Blue Devils.
Duke finished the year with three teams of doubles ranked in the top-50, headlined Capra and Kahan at No. 25, while Clayton and Goldfeld were 28th and Capra and Goldfeld finished 43rd.Throughout the season the Blue Devils had strong doubles play, posting an unblemished 23-0 record when winning the crucial point. Duke finished the season with an overall doubles record of 95-47 and a 62-26 mark in dual matches.
In 2012, Duke re-wrote the record books on several occasions, most notably with Ashworth passing former North Carolina coach Kitty Harrison to become the ACC's all-time wins leader. Ashworth recorded victory No. 352 on March 23 in a 4-3 triumph at Virginia to pass Harrison, and etch his name into ACC history.
Duke ended the year with a 29-3 overall record, reached the finals at the ITA National Team Indoor Championships and the semifinals in the NCAA tournament for the eighth time in program history, while becoming the first team in ACC history to record a perfect 11-0 record in conference play and win the ACC Tournament in the same season, en route to its league-leading 17th ACC title. The team's 29 wins tied the 2009 national championship team for the second most in a season, while the Blue Devils also tied the 2009 team for the second-longest winning streak in program history with 18 straight victories.
Clayton and senior Monica Gorny tied the school record for ACC doubles victories by a Blue Devil tandem with 16 on April 15 with an 8-1 victory in the No. 3 spot over Maryland. The only other doubles teams to reach the mark were the duos of Wendy Lyons and Monica Mraz, as well as Vanessa Webb and Karen Goldstein.
"When I look back at the year that we just finished, I'm really happy where we finished in the sense that we have a platform for next year," Ashworth said. "We'll come in with a lot more experience, we'll have some really good leadership next year and I think the girls know what it takes to be successful. I think our program is in a really good place. The girls we have are a great group of girls who are excited about what we have and what we've accomplished, but they're not satisfied. They're looking to build on it and be the best team in the country next year."
Duke will return seven of its eight letterwinners for the 2012-13 season, on a roster that will include four sophomores, two juniors and one senior.