DURHAM, N.C. – The second-ranked Duke women’s tennis team takes to the road this weekend to take on No. 13 Michigan Friday at 6 p.m. in Ann Arbor, Mich., before traveling to South Bend, Ind., Sunday to take on No. 18 Notre Dame at 11 a.m. The Blue Devils enter the weekend with an 8-1 record, highlighted by wins over four teams ranked in the top-25 in the latest Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) poll.
“It’s definitely one of our toughest road trips of the year,” said head coach Jamie Ashworth. “Both teams are very good, especially indoors. Michigan is going to have a lot of people there and is a very tough place to play so hopefully we can embrace that. They both have big hitting teams, so we just have to be one ball tougher. Neither of these matches are easy by any means, so we definitely need to play well in both to have a good result.”
Following a Feb. 10 loss to top-ranked North Carolina in the semifinals of the ITA National Indoor Championship in Charlottesville, Va., the Blue Devils responded by sweeping then second-ranked Florida and No. 73 Princeton the past two weekends. Led by junior Hanna Mar, listed at No. 13 in the ITA poll, Duke has opened the season with an 8-1 or better record for the sixth consecutive season, and 11th under Ashworth.
On Friday, Duke and Michigan will meet for the ninth time in program history, with Duke owning a 7-1 lead dating back to the first meeting in 1980. The Wolverines and Blue Devils last met in the quarterfinals of the 2012 ITA National Indoor Championship, with Duke coming out on top, 4-0, to advance to the next round.
Duke will return to the courts Sunday at 11 a.m. to face Notre Dame for the 20th time in program history, with the Blue Devils again holding the edge, 16-3. The 18th-ranked Fighting Irish enter the match with a 7-3 record this season.
“In the long run, this weekend is going to prepare us for ACC play,” Ashworth said. “We have a bunch of tough conference matches, and some tough conference matches on the road. Ultimately that is what we need to do. Be prepared for every situation and every scenario and that’s why we play matches like this.”
Live stats will be available for both matches by visiting the Duke Gameday Central page or by clicking the links above. Live video will be available for the match on Friday against Michigan as well.