DURHAM, N.C. – With 14 matches in the books, the No. 10 Duke men’s tennis team turns its attention to the ACC season, kicking off the league campaign with a 1 p.m. Sunday home match against Virginia Tech. The Blue Devils (9-5) took fifth in the conference standings last spring while the Hokies (9-2) placed eighth.
All regular season Duke men’s tennis home events at Sheffield Indoor Tennis Center and Ambler Tennis Stadium are free to the public. General public parking is available in the Blue Zone parking lot off Duke University Road.
Virginia Tech Series History
Sunday will mark the 32nd meeting with Duke holding a commanding 27-4 advantage in the series that began in 1927 … The teams have met annually since the spring of 2005, Virginia Tech’s first season in the ACC … Duke’s seven match winning streak against the Hokies came to an end in 2015, as Virginia Tech downed the Blue Devils 6-1 in Duke’s first ACC match of the campaign … The Hokies stretched the winning streak to two with a 5-2 triumph in 2016, but Duke registered a 6-1 victory last March in Blacksburg … The Blue Devils are 16-3 in Durham, but have not recorded a home triumph against Virginia Tech since March 21, 2014 … In singles during their dual match careers, Nick Stachowiak, Spencer Furman and Ryan Dickerson are 1-0, while Catalin Mateas is 1-1 and Nicolas Alvarez and Jason Lapidus are 0-1.
Scouting the Hokies
Virginia Tech is led by junior Mitch Harper, who is 5-2 at No. 1 this spring and ranked No. 29 in the Oracle/Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) poll … Junior Jason Kros, ranked No. 117, has been on court two most often, going 5-2 there … Sophomore Alexandre Ribeiro is a mainstay at No. 3, playing to a 7-0 ledger there and owning a 10-0 dual match record … Harper and freshman Carlo Donato have filled positions one and two in doubles, going 4-0 … Kros and redshirt junior Freddy Mesmer have been stout in doubles, going 1-0 at No. 2 and 4-0 on court three.
“It’s really exciting,” head coach Ramsey Smith said of starting ACC play. “If you look at the rankings and everything, the ACC is the toughest conference in the country with the best teams. There are a lot of great conferences, but the ACC is right up there at the top. We get to play every single team in conference and then have the ACC Championship. Every match is big. You have to prepare for every opponent’s best. Each match is a great opportunity for a big win.”
Duke heads into Sunday’s match having won eight of its last 10, 18 of its last 21 and 22 of its last 26 ACC openers … The Blue Devils had their streak of seven league-opening victories snapped in 2015 with the 6-1 setback at Virginia Tech … Smith is 7-2 as Duke’s head coach in ACC openers … The Blue Devils have opened the league campaign against Virginia Tech in three of the last four years, skipping only 2016 by facing Georgia Tech in the first league match.
Leaders in League Singles Wins
Duke heads into this weekend’s ACC opener with juniors Mateas and Dickerson owning the most singles wins against league foes with 12 each … Mateas tallied four ACC wins as a freshman in 2016 before doubling the total last spring … Dickerson carded three league wins in 2016 and tripled the effort in 2017.
Alvarez Looks to ACC Return
Redshirt junior Alvarez missed the entire 2016 league season due to injury and is looking to play in his first ACC regular season match since April 17, 2016, against North Carolina’s Brayden Schnur … Alvarez enters the weekend riding a three-match ACC winning streak, last losing a league decision with a 6-3, 1-6, 6-0 setback to No. 8 Ryan Shane of Virginia on April 3, 2016.
ACC Winning Streaks in Singles
Mateas heads into Sunday’s match with the longest current ACC winning streak on the squad, capturing his final seven decisions of the regular season … Mateas’ last ACC regular season loss was a 6-3, 6-3 setback to No. 87 Nick Horton of N.C. State on March 22, 2017 … Dickerson’s streak is nearly as impressive, spanning six regular season matches … His last ACC regular season loss was a 6-4, 6-2 decision to No. 64 Collin Altamirano of Virginia on March 26, 2017.
Stachowiak Named ACC Player of the Week
For the second time in his career, Stachowiak has been named the ACC Player of the Week … The sophomore from Cary, N.C., earned the honor this week following a 2-0 singles performance last Saturday, winning both matches in straight sets on court two … With the victories, Stachowiak surpassed the 50-win plateau in his singles career, earning wins No. 50 and 51 … He was tabbed the league’s player of the week on March 7, 2017.
Clinches All Around
In Duke’s nine wins this season, six of the Blue Devils’ eight players have clinched at least one match … Dickerson, Mateas and sophomore Robert Levine lead the way with two apiece.
Duke up to No. 10 in Oracle/ITA Poll with Two in ITA Singles Rankings
Following two weekend wins, the Blue Devils bumped up three spots to No. 10 in this week’s Oracle/ITA rankings … The singles rankings remain the same this week with Duke’s Alvarez at No. 32 and Mateas at No. 92.
Blue Devils in the Top 10
This week marks Duke’s return to the top 10 for the first time since standing No. 10 in the final 2015 poll … Duke has been ranked in the top 13 for four consecutive matches for the first time since 2015, when the Blue Devils were within the top 10 from February through the year’s final poll … During the 2016 and 2017 campaigns, Duke played just two matches with a top-15 ranking.
A Full Team Effort
Duke’s elevation to the top 10 has been a full team effort … The Blue Devils are the only squad in the top 10 of the rankings with just one singles player ranked in the top 90 … In comparison, top-ranked Wake Forest has five within the top 90 … Duke and Illinois are the only programs in the top 10 without a ranked doubles team.
Last Time Out
A tightly contested doubles point swung the momentum in favor of No. 8 Michigan as the No. 10 Duke squad dropped a 4-0 decision Thursday at the Sheffield Indoor Tennis Center … Doubles points are hard to find closer than the one played Thursday with the Wolverines coming away with a 1-0 lead from victories on courts two and one … On two, Michigan’s Myles Schalet and Connor Johnston exchanged breaks throughout with Alvarez and Mateas with the Wolverines winning 6-4 … On court three, Duke evened the doubles action with a 7-6 (5) victory by juniors Dickerson and Lapidus against Mattias Siimar and Kristofer Siimar … The point came down to court one, where the No. 8 team of Alex Knight and Runhao Hua took down Stachowiak and freshman Sean Sculley, 7-5 … In singles, Michigan extended the lead to 2-0 with a 6-4, 6-2 victory by No. 33 Hua against No. 92 Mateas on court two … The Wolverines pushed the lead to 3-0 on court three, where Mattias Siimar defeated Furman 6-3, 7-5 … The clinching point came on court five, where Carter Lin fought off Sculley for a 6-4, 7-5 victory.
Duke caps a five-match home stand with a visit from rival North Carolina at 1 p.m. Saturday, March 10.