DURHAM, N.C. – The top-ranked Duke women’s tennis team improved to 19-1 Friday after defeating visiting NC State, 7-0, in a blustery, albeit warm Ambler Tennis Stadium. The Blue Devils extended their winning streak to 11 matches with Friday’s victory.
“I thought we served really well [in doubles],” said head coach Jamie Ashworth. “We served better than we have been. I thought we did a good job of putting pressure on them off the first ball, whether it was a return and us moving forward, or us serving and moving forward. It was a little more aggressive than we’ve been playing, but that’s something we’ve been working on, trying to keep teams on the defensive, instead of getting into six, seven, eight ball rallies.”
The Blue Devils set the tone for the match in doubles, jumping out to early leads on courts one and three en route to securing the doubles point.
The doubles team of freshman Chalena Scholl and junior Annie Mulholland cruised by NC State’s Nicole Martinez and Natalia Janowicz, 8-2, on court three, leading the Blue Devils off the courts. With the match tied at 1-1, Duke won four straight games to see a 5-1 advantage. The Blue Devils surrendered just one additional game before winning three straight to take the match. With the win, Scholl and Mulholland own a 4-1 ledger this season.
On court one, the sixth-ranked pair of sophomore Beatrice Capra and senior Hanna Mar proved equally dominant against NC State’s team of Joelle Kissell and Sophie Nelson, clinching the doubles point with a 8-2 victory. The Blue Devil tandem opened the match by breaking NC State’s serve before holding serve to lead 2-0. Duke remained in control of the match, leading 5-1 before dropping just one additional game. The team of Capra and Mar improved to 12-5 on the season and 8-2 over the last 10 matches with the victory.
The match on court two between the 24th-ranked pair of junior Ester Goldfeld and freshman Alyssa Smith and NC State’s Liza Fieldsend and Rachael James-Baker was abandoned after Duke clinched the doubles point. NC State led, 5-3.
The momentum from doubles carried over into singles play, as the Blue Devils won the first game on five of the six courts and took the first set on all six courts.
“We had some really quick first sets, which was good,” Ashworth said. “NC State is a really emotional team. We didn’t want to give them anything to feed off of. It’s important to have good starts of games and sets, and I thought we did a good job of that.”
Senior Rachel Kahan led the Blue Devils off the courts in singles after defeating Elisha Hande, 6-3, 6-0. Kahan trailed 1-2 early in the first set before winning three straight games to take a 4-2 lead. After trading games to bring the set to 5-3, Kahan closed out. Kahan continued asserting herself in the second set, not dropping a game. Kahan now sits at 12-4 on the season.
On court six, senior Marianne Jodoin continued strong play at the No. 6 position, defeating Nelson, 6-1, 6-0. With the first set tied at 1-1, Jodoin settled in and won each of the next five games. In similar fashion to many of her contests this season, Jodoin did not surrender a game in the second set. With the win, Jodoin improves to 9-2 at the No. 6 position and 23-7 overall.
Mulholland secured the victory for the Blue Devils following a 6-1, 6-2 defeat of Janowicz. Mulholland took command of the first set with a 5-0 lead. Mulholland dropped one game before winning the set. Mulholland sat tied with Janowicz in the second set, 2-2. Unfazed, the Portland, Ore., native won four straight games to clinch the 19th win of the season for the Blue Devils. Mulholland currently owns a 13-6 overall mark this season.
Scholl earned her third-straight victory following nearly a three-week hiatus. Scholl outlasted NC State’s Kissell, 6-1, 7-5 on court one. Scholl led 5-0 before dropping her lone game of the first set. Neither Scholl nor Kissell saw a significant advantage in the second set, as the two sat tied five times over the course of the second. With the set tied at 5-5, Scholl took two games to secure the win. Scholl improved to 5-4 with the victory.
Smith proved equally impressive on court three, earning a 6-1, 7-5 victory over Martinez. Smith saw a 5-0 advantage in the first set before conceding the first and only game of the first set. Smith maintained the pressure in the second set, jumping out to a 3-1 lead. Martinez fought back to tie the set, 4-4, before taking a 4-5 lead over Smith. Smith could not be denied however, winning the final two games to take the set and the match. Smith moved to 21-8 on the season.
On court 2, Mar and James-Baker proved equally matched, before Mar secured the victory, 6-3, 7-6 (7-5). With the first set tied at 2-2, Mar strung together two consecutive games to take a 4-2 lead. James-Baker brought the match to 4-3 before Mar earned the first-set victory, 6-3. In a hard-fought second set, Mar led 5-4. Mar tied the match, 6-6, after James-Baker led the set, 6-5. The tiebreak, similar to the match, was tight. However Mar bared down and closed out the contest after taking the tiebreak, 7-5.
Duke remains at home, welcoming No. 14 Miami to Durham, N.C., Sunday. The match is scheduled for a 12 p.m. start.
1. Chalena Scholl (DU) def. Joelle Kissell (ST) 6-1, 7-5
2. #31 Hanna Mar (DU) def. Rachael James-Baker (ST) 6-3, 7-6 (7-5)
3. #89 Alyssa Smith (DU) def. Nicole Martinez (ST) 6-1, 7-5
4. Rachel Kahan (DU) def. Elisha Hande (ST) 6-3, 6-0
5. Annie Mulholland (DU) def. Natalia Janowicz (ST) 6-1, 6-2
6. Marianne Jodoin (DU) def. Sophie Nelson (ST) 6-1, 6-0
1. #6 Beatrice Capra/Hanna Mar (DU) def. Joelle Kissell/Sophie Nelson (ST) 8-2
2. #24 Ester Goldfeld/Alyssa Smith (DU) vs. Liza Fieldsend/Rachael James-Baker (ST) 3-5, unfinished
3. Chalena Scholl/Annie Mulholland (DU) def. Nicole Martinez/Natalia Janowicz (ST) 8-2