DURHAM, N.C. – Redshirt junior Nicolas Alvarez was named the Duke Student-Athlete of the Week on Wednesday after helping the Blue Devils to a 4-3 victory against No. 37 Virginia on Friday.
The Lima, Peru, product evened the match against the Cavaliers at 3-3 with a comeback, three-set victory against No. 38 Carl Soderlund on the top court. With Duke trailing 3-2 and two matches remaining, Alvarez knotted the score to set the stage for freshman Sean Sculley’s clinching victory. The win for Alvarez was his fifth of the year against a ranked opponent and snapped a brief two-match losing streak.
No. 17 Alvarez downed Soderlund 6-7 (5) 6-4, 6-3. Soderlund was ahead 4-1 in the first set before Alvarez took three straight to pull even. The two held serve in the final four games to send it to the tiebreaker. Alvarez led 4-2 in the tiebreaker before Soderlund knotted it at 4-4. Soderlund then took three of the final four points for the set. The second set had Alvarez down 4-2 before tallying the final four games to force the deciding set. The final set was even at 1-1, 2-2 and 3-3 before Alvarez held, broke and held to capture the match. He improved to 12-4 overall, 7-2 in dual matches and 3-2 versus ACC foes.
The win snapped Duke’s 16-match losing streak to the Cavaliers and was the Blue Devils’ first in Durham against Virginia since a 7-0 decision on April 5, 2003.
Duke is now 13-8 overall and 4-2 in the ACC, marking its best league start since going 4-2 in 2015. The Blue Devils return to action Friday with a 3:30 p.m. match at No. 30 Notre Dame.