SYRACUSE, N.Y. – After surrendering the doubles point to Syracuse, the 14th-ranked Blue Devils stormed back in singles to earn a 5-2 win over the Orange Saturday. Duke remained unbeaten in ACC play with the victory, moving to 17-3 on the year and 11-0 in conference action.
“After the doubles, we did a great job regrouping,” said head coach Jamie Ashworth. “The only thing we really talked about was be the best team on the court – support each other, yell, be emotional. We did a really good job with that ... I was really proud of how we came out emotional and fired up in the singles.”
Trailing 1-0 in the match after doubles, Duke bounced back with a strong start in singles play. The squad claimed first sets on five of the six courts, with 33rd-ranked Meible Chi leading the way. Playing in the No. 2 position, the rookie rolled to a 6-0, 6-2 triumph over No. 80 Gabriela Knutson to move to 29-11 overall and 7-3 against ACC opponents.
Sophomore Ellyse Hamlin quickly followed suit, putting the Blue Devils in front at 2-1 with a win on court six. She posted a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Libi Mesh of the Orange for her eighth win in conference singles play.
Playing at the No. 5 position, Alyssa Smith kept things going for Duke with an impressive showing against Syracuse’s Dina Hegab. Smith took the first set, 6-3, and jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the second set before winning by a 6-1 margin. The performance moved the senior to 17-14 on the year and 9-2 in league action.
Another senior, Chalena Scholl, then clinched the match from the No. 3 spot. Ranked 50th in the latest Intercollegiate Tennis Association singles poll, Scholl cruised to a 6-1 result in the first set against Anna Shkudun of the Orange and broke a 5-5 tie in the second set to win, 7-5. The singles victory was the 13th straight for Scholl, who improved to 26-5 overall and 11-0 against ACC foes.
After a tough first set against Syracuse’s Maria Tritou on court four, Kaitlyn McCarthy rebounded with a strong finish to win, 2-6, 6-3, 6-1. The effort pushed McCarthy’s win streak to 14 straight and moved her overall ledger to 22-5. The Blue Devil sophomore also remained unbeaten in conference singles play at 11-0. In the No. 1 contest, 73rd-ranked Samantha Harris claimed the first set, 6-3, but ultimately fell to No. 94 Miranda Ramirez of Syracuse by scores of 2-6 and 4-6 in the remaining sets.
“Kaitlyn got down there but I kept telling her, ‘You’re going to get an opportunity,’” Ashworth said. “Kaitlyn did not get frustrated. As soon as she that got opening in the middle of the second set, she took it and ran with it and lost one game after that. She’s done such a good job from a mental standpoint in the last couple matches … Chalena has been in some really close matches. But she’s just been a mental rock for us. The two of them together have just mentally been so strong. For someone to win in those spots, they’re going to have to really come out and beat those guys. They’ve been great for us all season.”
Harris and Hamlin led Duke off the courts in doubles, earning a 6-2 win over the Orange tandem of Nicole Mitchell and Tritou in the No. 3 contest. The victory marked the fourth straight for Harris and Hamlin, who improved to 12-5 on the season and 6-2 in conference doubles action.
Syracuse fired back with victories on courts one and two, as the 36th-ranked duo of McCarthy and Chi fell 6-2 and Smith and Scholl suffered a 6-3 setback.
Up next for the Blue Devils is a midweek showdown with North Carolina Wednesday at 3 p.m. in Chapel Hill. The match kicks off a busy end to the regular season, as the squad hosts Louisville Friday and Georgia Tech next Sunday, April 23.
#14 Duke 5, Syracuse 2
Apr 15, 2017 at Syracuse, N.Y. (Drumlins Country Club)
1. #94 Miranda Ramirez (SU) def. #73 Samantha Harris (DUKE) 3-6, 6-2, 6-4
2. #33 Meible Chi (DUKE) def. #80 Gabriela Knutson (SU) 6-0, 6-2
3. #50 Chalena Scholl (DUKE) def. Anna Shkudun (SU) 6-1, 7-5
4. Kaitlyn McCarthy (DUKE) def. Maria Tritou (SU) 2-6, 6-3, 6-1
5. Alyssa Smith (DUKE) def. Dina Hegab (SU) 6-3, 6-1
6. Ellyse Hamlin (DUKE) def. Libi Mesh (SU) 6-3, 6-3
1. Gabriela Knutson/Miranda Ramirez (SU) def. #36 Kaitlyn McCarthy/Meible Chi (DUKE) 6-2
2. Anna Shkudun/Dina Hegab (SU) def. Alyssa Smith/Chalena Scholl (DUKE) 6-3
3. Samantha Harris/Ellyse Hamlin (DUKE) def. Nicole Mitchell/Maria Tritou (SU) 6-2
Match Notes Duke 17-3, 11-0 ACC; National ranking #14
Syracuse 7-12, 4-8 ACC
Order of finish: Doubles (3,2,1); Singles (2,6,5,3,4,1)