CHESTNUT HILL, MASS. – The No. 3 Duke women’s team continued its dominance with a 7-0 win at Boston College on Friday afternoon.
Duke improves to 12-1 on the season and 4-0 in the ACC. It is the first time Duke has shut out five straight opponents since blanking seven straight opponents in the 1998-99 season. Boston College falls to 6-6 on the season and 0-5 in conference.
“I thought we played well,” said head coach Jamie Ashworth. “It’s one of the toughest places to play in the conference, because of the speed. They all hit the ball so hard and take advantage of the facility they play in. Before the match, we talked about how we have to be mentally strong and expect Boston College to hit some balls with pace and come out firing. I thought we handled ourselves well, both mentally and emotionally.”
Samantha Harris and Kelly Chen continued their strong doubles play of late, beating Jackie Urbinati and Maria Ross 6-2. Meible Chi and Hannah Zhao followed with a 6-2 win over Natasha Irani and Asiya Dair to give Duke a 1-0 lead. Chi and Zhao have won six straight matches while Harris and Chen have won four in a row.
“One of the things we’ve talked about is play free in doubles,” Ashworth said. “With all of our success in the fall, we may have been playing to defend something in the beginning of our season. We’ve played more free and more relaxed last three weeks, which is what we have to keep doing. Keep playing relaxed tennis, not protecting something. When we do that, we’ve been really good.”
Harris followed her doubles victory with a dominant singles win. She beat Boston College’s 75th-ranked Asiya Dair 6-3, 6-0. That is the team-high 10th ranked win for Harris this season. Chen was right behind Harris, beating Jackie Urbinati 6-4, 6-4.
Chi and Kaitlyn McCarthy both needed three sets to claim victories. Chi trailed Kylie Wilcox after the first set. But the sophomore bounced back to win the second and then claimed the decisive third set to win 4-6, 6-2, 6-3. McCarthy led Natasha Irani after one set, but Irani evened the match with a second set win. Like Chi, McCarthy won her third set, giving her a 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 victory.
Rounding out the Blue Devil wins on the day was Ellyse Hamlin and Zhao. Hamlin beat Maria Ross 6-1, 6-2 while Zhao beat Loren Haukova 6-3, 6-1 to make the final score 7-0.
“It was a big match for Sam, after losing to Dair last year,” added Ashworth. “Sam mentally played a really strong match. Our entire team does such a good job of pushing each other and running through the finish line. They treat each match the same. Our team is very mature and do a great job of valuing every point and every match, no matter the situation. It comes from our leadership, the upperclassmen. Sam and everyone has done a great job with that.”
Duke will return home for the first time in four matches when the Blue Devils host Notre Dame on Friday, March 23.
“We’re excited; it’s been a while since we’ve played at home,” said Ashworth. “We’re ready to put in some good work and deserve to win some matches which is something we’ve talked about. If we work hard, we’ll deserve to win these matches. We’ll keep putting in the effort and not be satisfied with anything and hopefully play well against Notre Dame on Friday.”
1. #5 Kaitlyn McCarthy/Ellyse Hamlin (Duke) vs. Kylie Wilcox/Dasha Possokhova (BC) 5-3, unfinished
2. #6 Samantha Harris/Kelly Chen (Duke) def. Jackie Urbinati/Maria Ross (BC) 6-2
3. Meible Chi/Hannah Zhao (Duke) def. Natasha Irani/Asiya Dair (BC) 6-2
1. #7 Samantha Harris (Duke) def. #75 Asiya Dair (BC) 6-3, 6-0
2. #60 Meible Chi (Duke) def. Kylie Wilcox (BC) 4-6, 6-2, 6-3
3. #55 Kaitlyn McCarthy (Duke) def. Natasha Irani (BC) 6-2, 3-6, 6-3
4. #26 Kelly Chen (Duke) def. Jackie Urbinati (BC) 6-4, 6-4
5. #79 Ellyse Hamlin (Duke) def. Maria Ross (BC) 6-1, 6-2
6. Hannah Zhao (Duke) def Loren Haukova (BC) 6-3, 6-1
Duke 12-1, 4-0 ACC; National ranking #3
Boston College 6-6, 0-5 ACC
Order of finish: Doubles (2,3) Singles (1,4,2,3,5, 6)