No. 10 Duke (4-0) vs. No. 11 Michigan (3-0)
Friday, Feb. 7 l 9 a.m.
Charlottesville, Va. l Boar’s Head Sports Club
DURHAM, N.C. – The 10th-ranked Duke women’s tennis team travels to Charlottesville, Va., Friday to open competition in the 16-team field of the 2014 ITA National Team Indoor Championship. In addition to Duke, the tournament hosts 15 of the top 17 teams in the country, including No. 2 Florida, No. 3 North Carolina, No. 4 Georgia, No. 5 UCLA, No. 6 USC, No. 7 Texas A&M, No. 8 California, No. 9 Miami, No. 11 Michigan, No. 12 Alabama, No. 13 Clemson, No. 14 Virginia, No. 15 Vanderbilt, No. 16 Northwestern and No. 17 Texas. The ACC sent five teams to compete in the tournament, tying with the SEC for the most teams from a single conference to participate in the contest.
Duke opens first-round competition Friday morning at 9 a.m., facing No. 11 Michigan. The Blue Devils earned the seventh seed in the draw after winning their respective ITA Kick-off Weekend.
Michigan Series History
Duke leads the series against the Wolverines, 7-2. The most recent Duke win occurred on Feb. 11, 2012, when the Blue Devils defeated Michigan 4-0 in the quarterfinal round of the 2012 ITA Team Indoor Championship. The last time the two teams met, the Wolverines outlasted the Blue Devils, 4-3, on March 1, 2013. Duke held a six-match win streak over Michigan prior to the defeat in 2013.
Scouting the Wolverines
Michigan enters Friday’s competition ranked 11th in the country while posting a 2014 record of 3-0. The Wolverines have already faced stout competition in the early stages of the season, competing against ranked opponents in all three matches. Michigan opened the season with a 6-1 victory over No. 52 Virginia Tech before upending No. 32 Yale. The Wolverines returned to the courts last weekend and disposed of No. 26 Tennessee, 6-1.
Michigan features two players in the top 25 rankings, including No. 20 Ronit Yurovsky and No. 21 Emina Bektas. Yurovsky boasts impressive credentials entering Friday’s match, including both a singles and doubles title at the USTA/ITA Midwest Regional Championship. Yurovsky, paired with teammate Sara Lee, currently ranks 11th in the ITA doubles polls while Bektas, partnered with Brooke Bolender, appears ninth on the list.
“This is the toughest competition we’ll face,” Duke head women’s tennis coach Jamie Ashworth said. “Sixteen of the top 17 teams in the country are playing this weekend. To this point, we really haven’t been challenged. We have to use the confidence that we’ve built in the matches we’ve played and carry it over no matter who we play. We need to expect we’re going to have a tough match. We have to expect the best from people.
“[Michigan] is a really good indoor team,” Ashworth said. “Usually when you have good indoor teams, they have big serves and like to play quicker points and I think we have to return well and serve well. We’re definitely familiar with their players. We see their players in all the tournaments in the fall. They compete really well. It starts at the top with their No. 1 player Emina Bektas. She’s been their No. 1 player for the past couple of years and trickles down to everyone else. I expect them to come out and swing. That’s what indoor teams do. I expect them to hit some winners, hit some aces and we just have to be able to understand, going into the match, that that’s what they’re going to do.”
Kahan Returns to Duke Lineup
Senior Rachel Kahan appears to be returning to true form after missing the 2012-13 season due to Tommy John’s surgery. The Unionville, Conn., native currently holds a 2-0 singles record and a 3-1 doubles ledger in 2014. Kahan made her 2014 debut for Duke Jan. 24 against No. 51 Columbia’s Iona Alecsiu. Kahan defeated Alecsiu, 6-2, 6-1, in the opening round of the ITA Kick-off Weekend. Kahan returned to competition two weeks later, defeating Furman’s Margaret Boyette, 6-2, 6-0. Kahan has also paired with teammate Marianne Jodoin throughout the early stages of the season in doubles play, defeating No. 40 William & Mary’s Julia Casselbury and Melanie Roy, 6-1. While competing in the Freeman Memorial Championship one week later, the Blue Devil duo rebounded from a 6-1 setback suffered at the hands of the No. 1 ranked pair of UCLA’s Robin Anderson and Jennifer Brady, by defeating third-ranked North Carolina’s Whitney Kay and Ashley Dai, 7-6, and 58th- ranked UNLV’s Alexis Garret and Anett Ferenczi-Bako, 6-1.
Jodoin Continues Win Streak
Senior Marianne Jodoin currently leads the Blue Devils with a seven-match win streak in singles play. The streak dates back to Nov. 1, 2013, when Jodoin handily defeated Texas A&M’s Jana McCord, 6-0, 6-1. Since beginning the streak, Jodoin has three matches where she did not surrender a game, including contests against William & Mary’s Sydney Smith, Columbia’s Tiana Takenaga, and Furman’s Kelly Sullivan. Each of the victories came with Jodoin in the No. 5 position.
Jodoin has proven equally successful in doubles play, carrying a five-match win streak into Friday’s competition. In her three most recent appearances in doubles, Jodoin has paired with freshman Alyssa Smith to defeat Columbia’s Tiana Takenaga and Iona Alecsiu, 6-1, Kentucky’s Kirsten Lewis and Stephanie Fox, 6-4, and Furman’s Margaret Boyette and Karlee Bryde, 6-1. Prior to pairing with Smith, Jodoin worked with Kahan, competing at the Freeman Memorial Championship.
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.