DURHAM, N.C. – The Duke women’s tennis team wrapped up its 2011 season two weeks ago with the programs third straight quarterfinal appearance and the 16th overall in the NCAA Championships. The Blue Devils finished the season ranked No. 3 and had all six singles players and four teams of doubles in the final rankings released on Wednesday, June 8, by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA).
"Overall I thought we had a very successful year,” women’s head coach Jamie Ashworth said. “This team accomplished a lot and improved both on and off the court. They should be proud of how they grew as a team and became as close as they did. This was one of the tightest groups of girls I have coached in my years at Duke, and that is a tribute to them as a team.”
Senior Reka Zsilinszka led all Blue Devils in the No. 25 spot in singles, while Nadine Fahoum was 46th, Rachel Kahan was 77th, Elizabeth Plotkin was 88th, Mary Clayton was 94th and Ellah Nze was 103rd.
In 2011, Zsilinszka posted a 32-7 overall record, a 21-3 mark in dual matches, was named All-ACC for the fourth straight season and earned the 2011 ITA Carolina Regional Senior of the Year Award. Zsilinszka played primarily in the No. 3 spot in the lineup and came through in the clutch for the Blue Devils by clinching seven matches this season, highlighted by a 4-6, 6-0, 6-3 win in the round of 16 against Georgia Tech in the NCAA Tournament. The four-year veteran ended her career at Duke with an overall record of 142-33 (.811), to rank third all-time in wins, and is currently the record holder for the most ACC singles wins at Duke with 38.
Nze, Fahoum and Kahan all joined Zsilinszka as All-ACC selections. Nze earned her fourth straight selection in 2011, while Fahoum and Kahan captured their first. Nze finished the season with a 25-16 overall record and a 13-13 dual match record, while Fahoum posted a 21-20 overall record and a 9-16 mark in dual matches. Nze finished her Duke tennis career with an overall record of 110-56 (.663) and became the 20th Blue Devil overall to earn 100 career singles wins.
In addition to being named to the All-ACC Women’s Tennis Team, Kahan captured the 2011 ACC Freshman of the Year award along with the 2011 ITA Carolina Regional Rookie of the Year award after posting an undefeated dual match record of 28-0. Kahan finished the year 31-1 overall and will carry a 30-match win streak into her sophomore campaign in 2011-12.
Duke finished the year with four teams of doubles ranked in the top-70, headlined by Fahoum and Nze at No. 25, while Nze and Kahan were 47th, Fahoum and Hanna Mar were 51st and Clayton and Monica Gorny were 69th. Throughout the season the Blue Devils had strong doubles play, with the team capturing the doubles point in 20 of 30 matches as they posted a 19-1 record when winning the crucial point. Duke finished the season with an overall doubles record of 79-51 and a 48-33 mark in dual matches.
Gorny and Clayton was a dynamic pair for the Blue Devils this season as they posted a 23-7 overall record as a tandem and 17-4 mark in dual matches. They were 9-1 against conference foes this season and currently rank tied for second in career ACC doubles wins at Duke with 15. Along with Gorny and Clayton, Fahoum and Mar provided the Blue Devils doubles line-up with a spark. Fahoum and Mar played primarily in the No. 2 doubles spot and posted a 12-8 dual match record and were 2-3 against nationally ranked opponents. Kahan and Nze finished the 2011 campaign with a 10-10 dual match record and were 7-8 at the No. 1 spot in the lineup.
Duke finished the season with a 25-5 overall record, a 10-1 mark in the ACC en route to capturing its 18th ACC regular season title. The Blue Devils earned their 23rd NCAA Tournament berth and advanced to the quarterfinal round for the third consecutive season and the 16th time in program history. Duke posted a 12-4 record against nationally ranked opponents this season with 11 of the 12 wins coming against teams that finished the season ranked in the top-25.
“It is going to be tough losing four seniors but I'm really excited with the foundation we have built and the group we have coming in as freshmen for next season,” Ashworth said. “We have a group that is hungry to build on what this team accomplished and we are looking forward to getting back on the courts this fall."
TennisRecruiting.net recently tabbed Duke’s 2011-12 incoming freshman of Beatrice Capra, Ester Goldfeld, Monica Turewicz and Annie Mulholland as the No. 1 recruiting class in the nation.