DURHAM, N.C. – The third-ranked Duke women’s tennis team (10-1, 3-0 ACC) is set to travel down Tobacco Road to face first-ranked North Carolina (16-1, 4-0 ACC) Wednesday at Cone-Kenfield Tennis Center in Chapel Hill.
The Blue Devils lead the all-time series 47-39 but have dropped seven of the last eight matches. In their last meeting, Duke fell to North Carolina, 4-0, in the semifinals of the ITA Indoor National Championships in Seattle last month.
“I want us to fight and compete on Wednesday,” head coach Jamie Ashworth said. “We learned a lot from playing them a couple weeks ago in that we need to be in a more aggressive mindset. We’ve been trying to simulate that in practice and in matches since then. It’s a big match. We’re both top three in the country but that’s why you come to Duke … to play in matches like this. We’re looking forward to the challenge and opportunity.”
The Blue Devils are off to a 3-0 start in conference play for the fifth-consecutive season and are coming off a dominant 6-1 win over Georgia Tech over the weekend in the Sheffield Indoor Tennis Center.
Duke is facing their seventh-straight ranked opponent Wednesday as the Tar Heels check in at the top spot in the nation. Duke’s previous six foes include No. 16 Ohio State, No. 7 Pepperdine, No. 3 North Carolina, No. 12 Florida State, No. 18 Miami and No. 35 Georgia Tech.
The Blue Devils landed at No. 3 in the most recent ITA team rankings and feature several on the singles and doubles list. Junior Meible Chi comes in at No. 18 followed by freshman Maria Mateas (No. 22), sophomore Kelly Chen (No. 26) and seniors McCarthy (No. 108) and Ellyse Hamlin (No. 124).
Chi is 7-1 this season while Mateas owns a ledger of 4-5. Chen (8-2), McCarthy (4-2) and Hamlin (9-1) round out Duke’s ranked singles players.
McCarthy and Hamlin earned the No. 18 spot on the dubs list with a 9-2 record this season followed by Margaryta Bilokin and Mateas at No. 56.
“We’re two of the more talented teams in the country and its just coincidence that we’re nine miles apart. They’ve done a great job over there and we have as well over here. We try to bring out the best in each other in all aspects, whether it’s on the court, in recruiting or academically. We stand in each other’s way with the goals we have for our program. We want to represent what we stand for the best that we can.”
The Tar Heels feature five players on the ITA singles rankings list and two doubles teams. Makenna Jones (No. 2), Alexa Graham (No. 5), Sara Daavettila (No. 6), Cameron Morra (No. 27) and Alle Sanford (No. 122) round out the singles rankings while Morra and Jones hold the fourth spot on the doubles list followed by Graham and Jessie Aney at No. 16.
In dual matches, Graham remains the only unbeaten Tar Heel with a 13-0 ledger, followed by Aney (13-2), Morra (10-1) and Jones (9-3). In doubles dual matches, Jones and Morra hold an 11-1 record while Aney and Graham are 10-0.
In their last meeting in February, the Tar Heels captured the doubles point with wins on courts one and three. North Carolina secured the match with three singles victories as Jones defeated Mateas (7-6 , 6-0) on court one, Graham defeated Chen (6-1, 6-4) on court three and Aney defeated Bilokin (3-6, 6-3, 6-1) on court five.
#GoDuke | #AllUs