DURHAM, N.C. – The Duke women’s tennis team marched to the ITA Kickoff Weekend championship match with a 4-0 victory against William & Mary on Saturday afternoon at the Sheffield Indoor Tennis Center. The Blue Devils (2-0) swept through doubles, got a quick win on court one from junior Samantha Harris and got the clinching point from freshman Meible Chi on court two.
The victory moves Duke’s all-time record against the Tribe to 26-6 with the Blue Devils claiming the last eight meetings. The win also ups Duke’s mark to 66-8 at home during the last six seasons.
“We played a good match against a good William & Mary team,” head coach Jamie Ashworth said. “They’re a good indoor team. They don’t fear anybody, have won their conference a bunch of times and had come down here a year ago for the NCAA Championships. I knew it would be a tough match.”
Duke got off to a solid start in doubles, claiming wins on courts one and three and leading on court two when the match was halted. Juniors Harris and Rebecca Smaller tallied the first triumph, topping Maria Groener and Ekaterina Stepanova 6-3 on court three. The Blue Devil pair jumped out to an early 3-0 lead before the Tribe answered with three consecutive wins to knot the set. Duke rallied again with three more consecutive wins to take the set. Harris and Smaller are now 2-0 this season.
The Blue Devils clinched the point on court one with sophomore Kaitlyn McCarthy and Chi’s 6-3 triumph over Marie Faure and Lauren Goodman. Much like Harris and Smaller, McCarthy and Chi jumped ahead 3-0 only to find themselves even at 3-3. It was another three-game rally that ended the match and pushed McCarthy’s and Chi’s record to 3-0.
In singles, it was Harris who quickly pushed the advantage to 2-0 in favor of Duke with a 6-2, 6-1 win against Faure on court one. Harris took care of business in the first set and rolled to a 5-0 lead in the second before completing the victory. Harris lifts her overall record to 4-1.
“One of our goals always after doubles is to get a quick singles match to build on the momentum,” Ashworth said. “Sam played a great match for us today.”
Picking up the third point for Duke was Smith on court five, where she downed Cheng, 6-2, 6-2. Smith is now 8-8 this year.
“Alyssa played the best match she’s played in a long time,” Ashworth said. “She competed really well and ran down balls. If she can build on that, it would be great for our team.”
Tallying the clinching point for Duke was No. 14 Chi, who fought her way to a 6-2, 7-6 (4) victory on court two against Stepanova. After breezing through the first set, Chi fell behind 3-0 before fighting back to within a game at 4-3. Chi then broke and held to take a 5-4 advantage. Stepanova answered with a break of her own to knot the set. The two remained even at 6-6 and headed to the tiebreaker. There, neither player had the lead of more than a point until it was tied at 4-4 and Chi won the final three points to secure the match, and Duke win. Chi owns a team-best 17-6 record this season.
With the overall match already clinched, the other three matches were abandoned. Each of those three matches were in third sets as William & Mary captured the first sets on courts three, four and six. On court three, No. 34 Scholl trailed Goodman 6-1, 4-6, 2-1. Court four had No. 76 McCarthy leading Thhaler 5-7, 6-2, 2-1. Court six featured Smaller trailing Groener 6-2, 3-6, 2-1.
“I think we did a really good job of overcoming some adversity,” Ashworth said. “The three singles matches where we lost first sets, we came back, won the second sets. We look forward to tomorrow against Northwestern, but we have to get off to better starts. We don’t want to lose three first sets. To have that recall to know that we can keep fighting, however, will be key.”
The Blue Devils return to the court Sunday at 2 p.m. against No. 25 Northwestern. The winner advances to the ITA Division I National Team Indoor Championships.
No. 10 Duke 4, William & Mary 0
January 28, 2017 at Durham, N.C. (Sheffield Indoor Tennis Center)
1. Kaitlyn McCarthy/Meible Chi (DU) def. Marie Faure/Lauren Goodman (W&M) 6-3
2. Alyssa Smith/Chalena Scholl (DU) def. Rosie Cheng/Olivia Thaler (W&M) 5-4
3. Samantha Harris/Rebecca Smaller (DU) def. Maria Groener/Ekaterina Stepanova (W&M) 6-3
1. Samantha Harris (DU) def. Marie Faure (W&M) 6-2, 6-1
2. #14 Meible Chi (DU) def. Ekaterina Stepanova (W&M) 6-2, 7-6 (7-4)
3. #34 Chalena Scholl (DU) vs. Lauren Goodman (W&M) 1-6, 6-4, 1-2, unfinished
4. #76 Kaitlyn McCarthy (DU) vs. Olivia Thaler (W&M) 5-7, 6-2, 2-1, unfinished
5. Alyssa Smith (DU) def. Rosie Cheng (W&M) 6-2, 6-2
6. Rebecca Smaller (DU) vs. Maria Groener (W&M) 2-6, 6-3, 1-2, unfinished
William & Mary 2-1, 0-0
Duke 2-0, 0-0; National ranking #10
Order of finish: Doubles (3,1); Singles (1,5,2)