No. 10 Duke (3-0) vs. Furman (1-0)
Saturday, Feb. 1 l 11 a.m.
Durham, N.C. l Sheffield Indoor Tennis Center
DURHAM, N.C. – The 10th-ranked Duke women’s tennis team welcomes the Furman Paladins to the Sheffield Indoor Tennis Center Saturday morning, with the match set for an 11 a.m. start. The Blue Devils return to the courts one week after an impressive Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Kickoff Weekend that saw Duke defeat both No. 51 Columbia and No. 42 Kentucky, 4-0. With the win over Kentucky in the championship match on Saturday, Duke secured a spot in the 16-team field of the 2014 ITA Women’s National Team Indoor Championship, hosted by Virginia Feb. 7-9.
All regular season Duke women’s tennis home events at Sheffield Indoor Tennis Center and Ambler Tennis Stadium are free to the public. General public parking is available in the Blue Zone parking lot off of Duke University Road.
Furman Series History
The Blue Devils lead the series against the Paladins, 11-0, with the two teams’ most recent contest won by Duke, 7-0, on Feb. 21, 2010. Duke has faced Furman just two times in Ashworth’s tenure, with the Blue Devils winning both contests by a combined 11-0 margin. In the 11 matches between the two programs, Duke has posted a combined score of 87-2.
Scouting the Paladins
The Paladins concluded the 2013 season with an overall record of 14-9 and a conference mark of 8-2. Furman’s lineup includes a mix of youth and experience, with three seniors, two juniors and three freshmen comprising the Paladin team. Margaret Boyette returns as one of the top players for the Paladins, following a 2013 junior season that saw her accumulate a 10-2 singles record and a 12-8 doubles ledger. Furman returns half of the team’s top doubles pair from a year ago, as Alex Moreno-Kaste enters her junior season. Paired with Lauren Kline last season, Alex Moren-Kaste compiled a 13-7 record in doubles play. The Paladins opened the 2014 season with a 4-3 win over East Tennessee State Thursday, Jan. 29. Freshman Karlee Bryde clinched the victory for Furman after outlasting her opponent, 6-4, 4-6, 1-0 (10-8).
“[The success of the team this past weekend] gives us more stuff to build on and lets us see our team compete under pressure,” Duke head women’s tennis coach Jamie Ashworth said. “Against Kentucky, we won 4-0, but we kind of got knocked around a little bit. We have to understand that Furman is going to come out Saturday and play one of the best matches they’ve played all year. We have to play with that kind of pressure on us, make smart decisions, play with a high-energy level and take control of the match with tempo…[Furman’s] a good team. They’ve made the NCAA Tournament the past couple of years and we definitely need to be prepared to play. Every team we play is going to play the best match of the year against us.”
Blue Devils Ranked in ITA Polls
Duke opened the 2014 season ranked 10th by the ITA and continue to hold the position through four weeks of competition. In addition to the team ranking, three members of Duke’s tennis team appear among the top-125 singles players in the country. Sophomore Beatrice Capra garnered a No. 3 ranking after a stellar fall that saw the Ellicott City, Md., native post a 15-2 mark, including a near perfect 11-1 ledger against nationally ranked opponents. Capra highlighted her fall season by capturing the ITA Regionals title. Teammates Ester Goldfeld (No. 45) and Hanna Mar (No. 49) join Capra among those ranked by the ITA. Goldfeld closed the fall with a 7-4 record while Mar posted a 6-5 mark.
Two Duke doubles pairs also appear on the ITA listings. The duo of Annie Mulholland and Goldfeld rank 14th in the nation following a 4-1 fall campaign. Mulholland and Goldfeld posted a 3-1 ledger against ranked opponents in the fall. Goldfeld also appears 27th on the list when teaming with Marianne Jodoin, after the duo saw a 2-1 fall season.
Two-Time ACC Player of the Week
Goldfeld has received ACC Female Tennis Player of the Week honors twice in the early stages of the season following dominating performances in her first two appearances of 2014. In the season opener against No. 40 William & Mary, Goldfeld helped secure the doubles point for Duke, teaming with Annie Mulholland to defeat Maria Belaya and Leeza Nemchinov, 6-3. The Brooklyn, N.Y., native returned to the courts in singles action, upending William & Mary’s No. 89 Nemchinov. One week later, Goldfeld received her second player of the week honor following a strong showing at the Freeman Memorial Championship. Goldfeld won three of her four matches at the highly competitive event which boasted 12 of the ITA’s top 50 singles players in the country. Goldfeld’s only loss of the weekend came at the hands of the No. 1 singles player in the country, Robin Anderson. Goldfeld added two upsets to her performance over the weekend, beating UCLA’s No. 37 Kyle McPhillips (6-2, 6-0) and Florida’s No. 27 Sofie Oyen (6-2, 6-0).
Duke Faces Challenging 2014 Schedule
For the second consecutive year, the Blue Devils’ spring schedule boasts 11 teams that concluded the previous season ranked by the ITA. In addition to Duke, which appears 10th on the list, seven ACC schools (No. 3 North Carolina, No. 9 Miami, No. 13 Clemson, No. 14 Virginia, No. 20 Georgia Tech, No. 23 Notre Dame and No. 27 Florida State) also appear in the top 30 of the ITA preseason polls.
The Blue Devil’s dual-meet schedule includes opponents from numerous athletic conferences, including the ACC, the Ivy League, the Colonial Athletic Association, the American Athletic Conference, the Southern Conference, Conference USA and the Big Ten. The Blue Devils are a combined 528-109 against opponents in the seven conferences, including a perfect 21-0 against Southern Conference foes.