CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – The Duke women’s tennis team held off a charge by Boston College in singles to remain unbeaten in ACC action with a 5-2 victory over the Eagles Sunday. The 15th-ranked Blue Devils closed their weekend road swing at 15-3 overall and 9-0 against league foes following today’s action at the Flynn Recreatino Complex in Chestnut Hill.
Duke claimed the first point in the match with strong doubles play and later broke a 2-2 tie by collecting wins on the final four courts in singles.
“These past two matches have just been mental battles,” said head coach Jamie Ashworth. “I don’t think we played great but we competed really well and we were mentally the better team. Under tough circumstances – we haven’t played indoors in a while and on courts that are a lot faster than ours at Notre Dame and here at BC – to gain confidence from that and to know that if we compete and if we fight and just trust each other, we’re going to win these kinds of matches. Moving forward, if we can pick our level of play up a little bit and compete and do those other things, then we’ll have a great end to our regular season.”
Duke’s 36th-ranked duo of Meible Chi and Kaitlyn McCarthy clinched the doubles point for the second straight match, earning a 6-3 victory over the Eagles’ Dasha Possokhova and Kylie Wilcox on court one. With the win, Chi and McCarthy moved their ledger to 10-3 overall and 5-3 against conference foes.
Ellyse Hamlin and Samantha Harris gave the Blue Devils the early advantage after cruising to a 6-2 decision on court three to lead the squad off the courts. The tandem jumped out to a 3-0 lead against Asiya Dair and Elene Tsokilauri of Boston College before posting its fourth ACC win of the season.
“We played we played good doubles and smart doubles,” Ashworth said. “We were aggressive. I thought that we served really well. It ended up being a huge point … and especially under the circumstances, indoors again on fast courts. I like where our doubles is. We can definitely keep doing some things better. But I thought all weekend, and especially today, we played some really good doubles.”
The Eagles grabbed the momentum early in singles, evening the score with Dair’s 6-2, 6-1 defeat of 65th-ranked Harris in the No. 1 contest. Boston College then took the lead, 2-1, following a battle between 24th-ranked Chi and Borr on court two. Borr took the first set, 6-1, but Chi managed to keep things close in the second set before falling 6-3.
McCarthy, ranked No. 122 in the latest Intercollegiate Tennis Association Division I singles poll, then gave Duke a boost from the No. 4 spot, knotting the match score again at 2-all. She fought off a rally by the Eagles’ Wilcox late in the first set and came out on top in a second set tiebreaker to win, 6-4, 7-6 (4). The performance moved her singles win streak to 12 consecutive matches and kept her unbeaten in ACC play at 9-0.
Scholl, the 57th-ranked player in the country, followed McCarthy off the courts with an impressive effort on court three. She rebounded from a 6-1 first set loss to Possokhova by cruising to a 6-2 decision in the second set. Scholl also took the deciding set by a 6-2 margin to notch her 11th consecutive singles victory and improve to 24-5 overall and 9-0 against league foes. The contest also rounded out a solid weekend for Scholl, who clinched Friday’s 4-3 win over No. 29 Notre Dame with a gritty three-set thriller.
“Chalena getting off to a good start in the second set, that gave us a lot of momentum there,” Ashworth said. “The beginning of the second set was huge – coming out and winning the first two games of the second set was a big momentum swing.”
The match was clinched for the Blue Devils from the No. 5 position, where Smith topped Emily Safron of Boston College, 6-4, 6-3. With the victory, Smith moved her season ledger to 15-14 overall and 7-2 in ACC action.
“Alyssa has been great,” Ashworth said. “Win or lose, she has been competing and fighting, and every match she’s played has been close. She got down early in the first set there and did a great job rattling off four games in a row to win the set. And then got down in the second set and competed and fought her way back and didn’t give away a lot of free points. It was big for her.”
Hamlin rounded out Duke’s 5-2 victory on court six, bouncing back from a 6-3 setback in the opening frame to outlast Urbinati in a 6-3 second set and third set tiebreaker, 1-0 (7). The Blue Devil sophomore improved to 9-5 overall and 6-2 in conference matches with the result.
Following this weekend’s trips to South Bend and Chestnut Hill, the Blue Devils return home to host Wake Forest in midweek action Thursday. First serve is set for 3:30 p.m. at Ambler Tennis Stadium.
#15 Duke 5, Boston College 2
Chestnut Hill, Mass. (Flynn Recreation Complex)
1. Asiya Dair (BC) def. #65 Samantha Harris (DU) 6-2, 6-1
2. Lexi Borr (BC) def. #24 Meible Chi (DU) 6-1, 6-2
3. #57 Chalena Scholl (DU) def. Dasha Possokhova (BC) 2-6, 6-2, 6-2
4. #122 Kaitlyn McCarthy (DU) def. Kylie Wilcox (BC) 6-4, 7-6 (4)
5. Alyssa Smith (DU) def. Emily Safron (BC) 6-4, 6-3
6. Ellyse Hamlin (DU) def. Jackie Urbinati (BC) 3-6, 6-3, 1-0 (7)
1. #36 Meible Chi/Kaitlyn McCarthy (DU) def. Dasha Possokhova/Kylie Wilcox (BC) 6-3
2. Lexi Borr/Jackie Urbinati (BC) vs. Chalena Scholl/Alyssa Smith (DU) 5-4, unfinished
3. Samantha Harris/Ellyse Hamlin (DU) def. Asiya Dair/Elene Tsokilauri (BC) 6-2
Duke 14-3 (8-0 ACC); National ranking #15
Boston College 9-10 (4-7 ACC)
Order of finish: Doubles (3,1); Singles (1,2,4,3,5,6)