DURHAM, N.C. -- The No. 10 Duke women’s tennis team opens the 2014 dual-match season Sunday, Jan. 12, welcoming 40th-ranked William and Mary to the Sheffield Indoor Tennis Center. The match is set for 12 p.m. The Blue Devils open dual-match competition following a 2013 campaign marred by injury. For Duke women’s tennis head coach Jamie Ashworth, fielding a full squad is an exciting prospect.
“We’re as healthy as we’ve been in the last two years,” Ashworth said. “We have everyone out practicing and everyone playing. We’re excited to have everyone out there, for sure.”
Sunday’s match between Duke and William and Mary marks the 30th meeting between the two squads, with Duke leading the series, 23-6. Duke earned the victory in the last five matches between the two teams, including 7-0 wins in the last three contests.
The Blue Devils compiled a 46-22 singles ledger this fall, with third-ranked sophomore Beatrice Capra headlining the squad with a 15-2 overall record and an 11-1 mark against nationally ranked opponents. In doubles action, the Blue Devils recorded a 15-7 mark, with the 14th-ranked duo of juniors Annie Mulholland and Ester Goldfeld partnering to earn a 4-1 record during the fall season.
Duke enters the 2014 dual-match season with three singles players and two doubles pairs nationally ranked by the ITA. Capra, who ranks third, No. 45 Goldfeld and No. 49 senior Hanna Mar comprise the three Blue Devils who appear on the singles list, while the teams of Mulholland and Goldfeld and senior Marianne Jodoin and Goldfeld (No. 27) round out the Duke contingent in the doubles rankings.
William and Mary comes off a 17-6 2013 season which saw the Tribe reach the first round of the NCAA tournament, before falling to then No. 17 Texas. William and Mary recently concluded fall play with a 58-56 singles record and a 22-27 doubles mark. The Tribe field an experienced team, led by four seniors.
“Playing this weekend against William and Mary is a big test for us, just because we haven’t been healthy,” Ashworth said. “It’s exciting to get started with a tougher match like this, but it’s also a little nerve wracking because you put so much on your team to do what they have to do over break, and it looks, early on in practice, that they’ve done that.”
Leading up to Duke’s first match of the season, Ashworth sums up the 2014 Blue Devil squad in one word, intensity.
“They’ve practiced with intensity, and we want to make sure that when they’re out on the practice court, they bring that intensity every day,” Ashworth said. “We played some matches at the end of the fall semester, and they’ve been the most intense, intra-squad matches we’ve had in my time here, and that’s a tribute to the girls and the competitiveness. They know they have to push each other in practice.”
Both the Blue Devils and Ashworth look for the intensity on the practice courts to transfer to the playing courts on Sunday in the match against William and Mary.