DURHAM, N.C. – The 15th-ranked Duke women’s tennis team travels to Lubbock, Texas May 11-12 for the first and second round of the NCAA Tournament, hosted by Texas Tech University at the McLeod Tennis Center. The Blue Devils are slated to face No. 27 Ole Miss in the opening round Saturday, May 11 at 11 a.m. CT with the winner advancing to play the winner of the match between No. 17 Texas Tech and No. 71 College of Charleston Sunday, May 12 at 1 p.m. CT.
“We realize that it’s a new season and that everyone starts at 0-0 and we’ve got to take advantage of that,” said head coach Jamie Ashworth. “It doesn’t matter what happens in February, March, April, who we’ve beaten, who we’ve lost to, everyone’s on the same page. It starts with our leadership and it trickles down. They realize when they come to Duke that their goal is to play for championships, and that starts this weekend with the first two rounds and we kind of build off of that.”
The Blue Devils have a long history of success in the NCAA Tournament, appearing in the event for the 25th time as well as the 24th consecutive year. In addition to posting an impressive 20-1 overall record in the NCAA Tournament first round matches, Duke has reached at least the round of 16 in 20 of its 24 previous trips, and have made the NCAA semifinal eight times, highlighted by winning the NCAA National Championship in 2009.
The squad enters the NCAA Tournament with a 14-9 overall record this season, including a 5-5 mark in Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) play after falling in the first round of the ACC Championship to Virginia Tech, 4-3. The Blue Devils boast three players in the most recent ITA poll, headlined by junior Hanna Mar at No. 29. Mar, a two-time All-ACC selection, earned a bid to the NCAA Individual Championship May 22-27 after notching a 22-9 singles record this season, including an 8-6 ledger in dual matches.
The match with Ole Miss Saturday will mark the ninth meeting between the programs, with Duke holding a 6-2 advantage. Led by Caroline Rohde-Moe, who was tabbed at No. 45 in the ITA poll, the Rebels enter the weekend with a 16-13 overall record and a 5-8 tally in conference play. The two teams last met in the opening round of the 2012 ITA National Team Indoor Championship, where the Blue Devils outlasted Ole Miss, 4-3.
“Ole Miss is not going to fear anybody, because they’ve played some of the best in the country already,” Ashworth said. “From the start, we’re going to have to come out with a lot of energy and a lot of focus. That’s how they play. They are a really enthusiastic group of girls and we need to match that. We can’t get buried from the start of the match…We have to go out and be ourselves and play with the fight that we’ve had and the pride and passion that we’re playing with. I’ll take my chances with our group with that.”
The winner of the Duke and Ole Miss match will return to the courts Sunday, May 12 to take on the winner of the match between Texas Tech and College of Charleston for the chance to earn a trip to the NCAA Championship Round of 16 in Urbana, Ill., May 17.
For live updates, follow along on twitter (@Duke_WTEN) or by visiting the Tennis Match Day page on GoDuke.com.
Lubbock, Texas • May 11-12
First Round • Saturday, May 11
Match 1 – Duke (14-9) vs. Ole Miss (16-13), 11 a.m. CT
Match 2 – (16) Texas Tech (19-6) vs. College of Charleston (20-8), Not before 2 p.m. CT
Second Round • Sunday, May 12
Match 3 – Winner Match 1 vs. Winner Match 2, 1 p.m. CT