DURHAM, N.C. – Junior Hanna Mar and sophomore Monica Turewicz return to their home state this weekend as the No. 3 Duke women’s tennis team travels to Illinois to take on No. 14 Northwestern Sunday at 11:00 a.m. CT. The Blue Devils enter the match with a 3-0 record this year, after sweeping both No. 74 Wisconsin and No. 60 Wyoming last weekend to claim the title at the Durham region of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Kick-Off Weekend.
“It is always a good match when we play Northwestern,” said head coach Jamie Ashworth. “They are one of the best indoor teams, and playing at their place is always a tough match. They hit the ball hard, they are aggressive, they are coached really well, and they play to their strengths. For us to be able to compete against the best teams we need to be able to compete in a match like this. It’s a good opportunity for us, and really the first opportunity for us to play a really good, solid, top-15 team, so we are looking forward to that.”
A native of Burr Ridge, Ill., Mar has posted a 16-3 overall singles record this year, including an impressive 5-2 against nationally ranked opponents. Mar, ranked No. 10 in the most recent ITA poll, has tallied a 2-0 record in the No. 1 position for the Blue Devils after downing Wisconsin’s Hannah Berner, 6-1, 6-3 in the opening match of the ITA Kick-Off Weekend.
Turewicz, a native of Lake Forest, Ill., enters the match on an 18-match singles win streak in dual matches including a 3-0 ledger this year after downing Anastasia Tipolskay of Wisconsin and Wyoming’s Jessica Parizher in straight sets last weekend. Turewicz tallied a 32-3 singles record last season and garnered NCAA All-Tournament Team honors after going a perfect 5-0 in the NCAA tournament while playing in the sixth position, and leading the Blue Devils to the NCAA Semifinal.
Northwestern enters the match with a 2-0 overall record after topping No. 38 Arkansas and No. 26 Purdue in the ITA Kick-Off Weekend, earning them a place in the ITA National Indoor Championship. The Blue Devils have tallied a 13-5 record all-time against Northwestern, including a Feb. 4 matchup last season in which the No. 3 Blue Devils swept the No. 14 Wildcats, 5-0, at the Sheffield Indoor Tennis Center in Durham, N.C. Duke has topped Northwestern in each of the previous four meetings, and own a 5-2 all-time record in matches played in Evanston, Ill.
“I’m happy with where we are. I think we’re progressing,” Ashworth said. “We’ve had a little adversity, but I think we have handled it really well. We have a mature group of girls, and it’s kind of the ‘next man in’ kind of mentality. Our team’s goals remain the same, that is just the kind of kid that we recruit. They are up for any challenge that we have, so I am happy with their attitude, and I think every match we have played we are getting a little bit better.”
The Blue Devils are next slated to travel to Charlottesville, Va., for the ITA National Indoor Championship Feb. 8-11.