FORT MYERS, Fla. – The 18th-ranked Duke women’s tennis team opened a three-match road trip to Florida Wednesday with a 6-1 victory over Florida Gulf Coast, which was played at the FGCU Tennis Complex in Fort Myers, Fla.
With the win, the Blue Devils improve to 7-3 on the season and won their third straight match, while Duke snapped a nine-match home winning streak for Eagles (7-4).
"I thought we played a good match in adverse conditions,” said Duke head coach Jamie Ashworth. “We got off to a really slow start with our doubles play but did a great job getting some quick singles matches with Sam, Kaitlyn, and Meible. We will need to have a good practice up in Tallahassee tomorrow and be ready to go against a talented FSU team on Friday."
Duke jumped out to a 1-0 advantage after taking the doubles point for the first time since Feb. 11, which snapped a three-match skid.
The 34th-ranked Duke tandem of Kaitlyn McCarthy and Meible Chi took care of business with a 6-3 win over Julia Ascua and Julianna Curtis at the No. 1 slot. FGCU came back at the No. 3 position to even the count with a 6-4 win by Bridget Forster and Sara Kelly over Duke’s Samantha Harris and Ellyse Hamlin.
The doubles point would come down to court two featuring the Blue Devil tandem of Chalena Scholl and Alyssa Smith versus Breana Stampfli and Maja Ornberg. FGCU took a 2-0 advantage early, but the Duke duo came back to take a 5-3 lead and had opportunities to close it out. Scholl and Smith played a great return game at 5-5 to break and then Smith went on to hold serve to close the doubles match out with a 7-5 victory.
With a 1-0 lead heading into singles action, the Blue Devils kept the momentum as 90th-ranked Harris took down Ornberg, 6-0, 6-1, on court one to go ahead, 2-0.
Chi, a rookie playing in her home state of Florida, moved the score to 3-0 as she registered her 23rd win of the year. A native of Weston, Fla., Chi defeated Stampfli, 6-2, 6-1, at the No. 2 slot.
On court four, 79th-ranked McCarthy improved to 7-1 at the No. 4 position as she easily took down FGCU’s Laura Falceto Font, 6-1, 6-0, to clinch the win for the Blue Devils.
Smith, a senior from Laguna Niguel, Calif., added a 6-4, 6-1 win over Curtis at No. 5 and then 42nd-ranked Scholl turned in a 7-6, 6-4 win over Ascua at No. 3.
Seeing action in her first dual match play of the spring, Hamlin won the first set, 6-2, but dropped the second, 7-5. The Fairfield, Conn., sophomore fell in a tiebreaker, 10-1, in the third set against Kelly to conclude the match with a 6-1 win for the Blue Devils.
Duke and FGCU met for the first time in school history as the Blue Devils moved to 9-0 in first-time meetings since the start of the 2013 dual match season.
The Blue Devils continue the Florida road trip at No. 36 Florida State with a 4 p.m. first serve Friday, March 17.