DURHAM, N.C. – The Duke men’s tennis earned a pivotal ACC upset victory over No. 22 Notre Dame, 4-1, inside the Sheffield Indoor Tennis Center Friday evening.
With the win, the Blue Devils now own a 9-11 overall record on the season and are 3-6 in conference play. Duke is 6-2 in Durham this season and 3-2 against nationally ranked opponents. Notre Dame fell to 12-12 overall and 3-6 in ACC action.
In doubles play, juniors Spencer Furman and Robert Levine won convincingly on court three, earning a 6-1 victory over Grayson Broadus and Daniel Rayl. On court one, junior Nick Stachowiak and senior Jason Lapidus clinched the doubles point with a 6-2 win over Matt Gamble and Axel Nefve.
Furman and Levine improved to 5-2 on the year as doubles partners, while Lapidus and Stachowiak earned their seventh win of the season together (7-4). Senior Catalin Mateas and sophomore Sean Sculley were leading 4-2 over Guillermo Cabrera and William Howells on court two before the match was clinched.
In singles action, Mateas earned a 6-1, 6-3 victory over Gamble, putting the Blue Devils up 2-0. Senior Vincent Lin, who entered the contest a winner of four-straight decisions, earned his fifth consecutive dual singles victory as he prevailed 6-2, 6-2 over Nathan Griffin, giving Duke a 3-0 advantage.
Notre Dame’s Nefve gave the Irish their first point of the contest with a 6-3, 6-3 win on court one over No. 85 Stachowiak. On court five, Sculley won the first set 6-3 over Broadus and led 5-2 late in set two. After Broadus rebounded and won on his serve (5-3), Sculley clinched the match for Duke with a forehand down the line, winning 6-3, 6-3 and ending the match.
“I was really able to win some big points in the second set,” said Sculley on what he was thinking during that last set. “I went down a break a couple of times but got right back into it as I immediately broke right back. I was just focusing on myself and trying to come through for the team.”
The dual singles victory was Sculley’s fourth of the season and first on court five.
“It was a match we needed to win,” said head coach Ramsey Smith. “We have been trending in the right direction despite some of these tough losses and I am just proud that we have stayed positive and kept our heads up. The last three matches, we played well against Virginia, very well against Louisville and played very well again tonight.”
“Sculley had a very good week of practice,” stated Smith. “A very good mental week and came in with a clear game plan of what he needed to do. It was a big win for him and a big win for the team.”
Duke will next host Boston College Sunday at 12 noon outside in Ambler Tennis Stadium.