DURHAM, N.C. – Before NCAA Team Championship action begins for Duke’s men’s and women’s tennis teams, each squad named its Charles Hamilton Hargrave Most Valuable Player for the 2017-18 campaign. The award, presented for the fourth consecutive season, went to junior Ellyse Hamlin on the women’s side and sophomore Nick Stachowiak repeated as MVP for the men’s team.
The men’s team also presented the second annual Robert C. Taylor Leadership Award to junior Jason Lapidus.
Charles Hamilton Hargrave was one of the Blue Devils’ first men’s team captains, lettering for the program in 1927-28. His family wanted to keep his memory alive within the Duke Tennis program and endowed the MVP award in his name.
The Lucile and Clarence Dragert Charitable Fund of Communities Foundation of Texas enabled the leadership award in Robert C. Taylor’s name. Taylor was a 1949 Duke graduate and member of the tennis program. Taylor was President of Sigma Alpha Epsilon as an undergraduate and received his degree from Duke Law School in 1952. Taylor, who went on to become a tax attorney and public servant in the Dallas area, received the Charles A. Duke Award in 2008 for his longstanding support and service to the school.
Hamlin, a third team All-ACC pick this spring, has turned in a strong campaign on both the singles and doubles courts. She heads into the NCAA Team Championship with a 29-5 mark in singles, going 22-2 in dual matches and 17-1 on court five. The 29 wins are a career-high for the Fairfield, Conn., native and are tied for the third most on the team. Hamlin, who was voted by her teammates as the most valuable player, went 13-1 in the ACC and enters the NCAA Tournament on an eight-match winning streak. Hamlin has also teamed with classmate Kaitlyn McCarthy to play to a team-best 26-7 doubles record. During the year, the pair reached as high as No. 2 in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) doubles rankings and won the Riviera/ITA All-American Championships during the fall season. The duo earned a spot in the NCAA Doubles Tournament and beat a trio of ranked pairs during the ACC Tournament.
Stachowiak, a third team All-ACC selection, leads the Blue Devils with a 25-11 singles record and 17-17 doubles mark. He is the first Blue Devil to have 25 or more singles wins in each of his first two seasons since Raphael Hemmeler, Chris Mengel and Jason Tahir all accomplished the feat in 2011-12 and 2012-13. In singles, Stachowiak has played on the first four courts with the most matches in the second and third slots. The Cary, N.C., product went 6-5 in ACC play and owns a team second-best three wins against ranked opponents. Stachowiak, who was selected by his teammates as the most valuable player, closed the regular season on a high note, picking up the highest-ranked victory of his career by defeating No. 31 Guy Iradukunda of Florida State 7-5, 7-5 on court two. Stachowiak earned his second career ACC Player of the Week accolade on February 27 after clinching matches against both Coastal Carolina and Furman. He has teamed with freshman Sean Sculley to form Duke’s most used doubles team. The pair has gone 14-12 overall and 6-9 on court one. The tandem, which earned its first ranking of No. 81 on May 10, has played its most recent matches on court two, going 3-1 there.
Lapidus has been one of the Blue Devils’ leaders all season, contributing primarily in doubles and playing to a 23-10 mark. In singles, Lapidus was thrown into the lineup due to injuries and won consecutive matches after dropping his first dual contest of the season. He defeated N.C. Central’s Pablo Juez Torres 6-0, 6-2 and helped push Duke from a 3-0 deficit against No. 22 Notre Dame at the ITA Team Indoor Championship to a 4-3 victory. Against the Fighting Irish, Lapidus fought off match point versus Grayson Broadus and clawed back for a 6-0, 2-6, 7-6 (6) win to get the Blue Devils on the board and en route to the comeback. In doubles, Lapidus paired with Ryan Dickerson, Catalin Mateas and Sculley. The pair of Dickerson and Lapidus produced a four-match winning streak against No. 10 Illinois, Coastal Carolina, No. 8 Michigan and Virginia Tech. With Sculley, the duo gave Duke the early edge in doubles against No. 8 North Carolina with a 6-3 victory versus Simon Soendergaard and Mac Kiger on court three. The two did the same at No. 16 N.C. State with a 6-4 triumph over Georgiy Malyshev and Tadas Babelis on court three. The end of the season has seen Lapidus and Dickerson go 4-2 in their last six matches, including Duke’s first ACC Championship doubles win with a 6-3 victory versus Clemson’s Marshall Dagostine and Sam Edwards on court three.