DURHAM, N.C. – The top-ranked Duke women’s tennis team earned a hard-fought, 5-2, victory over 11th-ranked North Carolina Sunday, March 2, in the Ambler Tennis Center in Durham, N.C. The two teams last met earlier in the season, as Duke (11-1, ACC 3-1) upset then third-ranked North Carolina (11-3, ACC 3-1) in the quarterfinal round of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Indoor Championship in February.
“It was a good weekend, overall,” Duke women’s head tennis coach Jamie Ashworth said. “I was really happy with our emotional level, especially in the doubles. I thought we came out and started on a really emotional high and that was our goal. We talked about it the other night after Notre Dame. We talked about it at practice yesterday. We talked about it before the match today. We just couldn’t let [North Carolina] feel any kind of comfort and get on a roll. I thought the doubles set the tone for the whole day, on an emotional level. I’m really happy and really proud of how we came out today.”
Duke and North Carolina proved evenly matched in doubles play as the doubles point came down to the match on court three between junior Annie Mulholland and freshman Chalena Scholl. The Duke pair took an early 4-1 lead over North Carolina’s No. 32 ranked duo of Laura Slater and Kate Vialle before the Tar Heels battled back to tie the match 4-4. Scholl and Mulholland won three consecutive games, leading the match 7-4. After surrendering one more game, Mulholland and Scholl secured the doubles point, winning on court three, 8-5. The Duke pair improved to 3-1 on the season with the win.
Junior Ester Goldfeld and freshman Alyssa Smith were the first off the courts in the No. 2 position after defeating North Carolina’s No. 5 pair of Caroline Price and Whitney Kay, 8-6. The lead changed hands numerous times throughout the match, as Goldfeld and Smith held a 3-1 advantage before Price and Kay won four consecutive games to lead by a 3-5 margin. The Duke tandem tied the match 5-5, and again at 6-6, before winning out the set, 8-6. Goldfeld and Smith own a 5-1 record with the win.
Duke’s fourth-ranked pair of Beatrice Capra and Hanna Mar faced stout competition against North Carolina’s ninth-ranked team of Jamie Loeb and Hayley Carter on court one. The match saw four ties, including at 3-3, 4-4, 5-5 and 6-6, before Loeb and Carter broke Duke’s serve to take the match, 6-8, forcing the match on court three to decide the doubles point. Capra and Mar fell to 8-5 with the loss.
Singles play was equally competitive between Duke and North Carolina, as two matches saw a third set.
Court one’s match pitted the top-two ranked singles players in the nation against one another, as No. 2 Capra faced No. 1 Loeb. The match lived up to its billing. Neither competitor could hold serve in the first set as Capra held only once en route to a 6-3 first set win. After the match sat tied at 3-3, Capra broke Loeb’s serve, bringing the set to 4-3 before holding serve and breaking Loeb’s serve once more to close out the first set. Loeb rebounded in the second set. With the set tied at 3-3, Loeb won three straight games to take the second set, 6-3. Capra fell behind, 3-5, in the final set, as Loeb threatened to earn the victory. The Ellicott City, Md., native rallied to tie the match at 5-5 before Loeb took a 6-5 lead. Although putting on a valiant effort, Capra could not tie the third set, as Loeb earned the victory on court one, 3-6, 6-3, 7-5.
Junior Rachel Kahan improved to 6-3 after cruising to a 6-2, 6-1 win over North Carolina’s Tessa Lyons. Kahan led 3-0 in the first set before conceding two games to Lyons. Kahan settled in, winning three straight matches to take the first set. After the second set sat tied at 1-1, Kahan won five consecutive games to take the second set convincingly, 6-1. Kahan secured the first singles point for the Blue Devils.
Goldfeld earned the second singles point for Duke after defeating North Carolina’s 83rd-ranked Whitney Kay, 6-4, 6-4, on court four. With the first set tied at 3-3, Goldfeld broke Kay’s fourth serve, bringing the set to 4-3. Each competitor held serve before Goldfeld closed out the first set, 6-4. Goldfeld remained in control, never trailing in the second set. Following a 4-4 second set tie, the Brooklyn, N.Y., native won two games to close out.
The 44th-ranked Mar exhibited her resilient spirit on court three, falling behind, 2-5, to North Carolina’s 52nd-ranked Caroline Price before winning five straight games to take the first set, 7-5. Mar carried the momentum over, taking an early 4-0 lead in the second set. After Price held serve, bringing the match to 4-1, Mar won a game before dropping three. Mar secured the point, however as well as the Duke victory, closing the second set, 6-4.
No. 92 Smith outlasted North Carolina’s Kate Vialli, 4-6, 6-2, 6-2 on court five. Smith led 4-2 in the first set before Vialli strung together four games in a row. Smith asserted herself in the second set, taking a 3-2 lead before tying the match with a 6-2 second set. Smith carried over her performance from the second set, taking a 5-1 lead in the third set. After dropping a game, the Laguna Niguel, Calif., native closed out the set, 6-2. Smith moved to 16-6 on the year.
On court two, freshman Chalena Scholl faced a tough competitor in North Carolina’s sixth-ranked Carter. After Scholl dropped the first set, 6-0, the Pompano Beach, Fla., native opened the second set by winning the first game. Scholl could not keep the momentum however, surrendering six games to Carter and dropping the match, 6-0, 6-1.
The Blue Devils hit the road for a three-match road stretch beginning with a contest against Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va., March 8.
1. #1 Jamie Loeb (NC) def. #2 Beatrice Capra (DU) 3-6, 6-3, 7-5
2. #6 Hayley Carter (NC) def. Chalena Scholl (DU) 6-0, 6-1
3. #44 Hanna Mar (DU) def. #52 Caroline Price (NC) 7-5, 6-4
4. #18 Ester Goldfeld (DU) def. #83 Whitney Kay (NC) 6-4, 6-4
5. #92 Alyssa Smith (DU) def. Kate Vialle (NC) 4-6, 6-2, 6-2
6. Rachel Kahan (DU) def. Tessa Lyons (NC) 6-2, 6-2
1. #9 Jamie Loeb/Hayley Carter (NC) def. #4 Beatrice Capra/Hanna Mar (DU) 8-6
2. Ester Goldfeld/Alyssa Smith (DU) def. #5 Caroline Price/Whitney Kay (NC) 8-6
3. Annie Mulholland/Chalena Scholl (DU) def. #32 Kate Vialle/Laura Slater (NC) 8-5