GREENSBORO, N.C. – After winning the ACC regular-season championship, the Duke women’s tennis team had five players earn All-ACC honors and garnered two individual awards in a vote by the league’s coaches, as announced by the conference office on Thursday.
Samantha Harris was a first-team All-ACC pick for the second consecutive year. On the second-team was Kelly Chen and Meible Chi. Rounding out the Blue Devil quintet was Kaitlyn McCarthy and Ellyse Hamlin on the third-team. Not only did Duke have the five players on the All-ACC teams, but Chen was named ACC Freshman of the Year and head coach Jamie Ashworth was named ACC Coach of the Year.
For Ashworth, it is the third time he has been voted ACC Coach of the Year by his peers. Ashworth also won the award in the 2001 and 2003 seasons. In his 21st season at the helm, Ashworth guided the Blue Devils to a 22-3 record and a 13-1 record in the ACC. Duke won the regular-season ACC championship for the 20th time in program history and the 12th time under Ashworth. Ashworth is closing in on 500 career wins as he currently has a record of 490-124 (.798).
“It’s a great honor, but it’s an honor that’s bestowed upon our team, not just myself,” said Ashworth. “Day in, day out, they’re the ones that put in the work and give a tremendous effort. They really made it a great group to coach and work with because they want to get better. That shows in our results. It’s a great honor for the other coaches in our conference to recognize the work our team has put in, because at the end of the day, they’re the ones who are out here playing the matches.”
Chen became the first Duke rookie and just the second Blue Devil ever to go 14-0 in ACC play. The Cerritos, Calif., native is the 12th Duke player to be named the ACC Freshman of the Year and the first since Beatrice Capra in 2012. Chen leads Duke with 35 wins, the fourth most by a Duke rookie. She is currently on a 17-match winning streak, tied with Amanda Johnson for the second-longest by a freshman. Chen played predominantly on courts three and four, going 11-1 and 9-0 respectively. Chen combined with Harris to amass a 24-6 overall doubles record and an 8-1 ACC mark. The pair became the first Blue Devils to be ranked No. 1 in the ITA poll since Mallory Cecil was No. 1 in 2009. The 24 wins by the pair are tied for 11th in Duke history.
“She’s been unbelievable and has done every single thing we’ve asked,” Ashworth said. “In the doubles court, in the singles court, in practice, she’s done a great job. It’s something she should be proud of. We have a good tradition of conference freshman of the year and she’s following in good footsteps.”
Harris was named All-ACC for the fourth time in her career, becoming the 13th Blue Devil to achieve that. The Melbourne, Australia native covered the top court for the entire season and went 29-12 overall and 11-3 in the ACC. She was 14-6 in dual matches and 14-9 against ranked opponents this season, giving her the most ranked wins by a Blue Devil since Capra racked up 19 in 2014. Harris climbed as high as No. 4 in the ITA singles rankings and has stayed in the top-10 since Jan. 17.
“It says a lot about her personality and her perseverance,” added Ashworth. “She comes to the courts every day and battles, whether she feels 100% or 50%. She’s giving it all for four years. For her, that shows her mentality and professionalism she brings every single day.”
For the second consecutive year, Chi is named to the All-ACC team, this time picking up second-team honors after being on the first-team after her freshman season. The Weston, Fla., product has served as the No. 2 Blue Devil for much of the season and has a 33-5 record this season, winning 23 straight matches from Nov. 6 to Apr. 8. After racking up 33 wins during her freshman season, Chi is just the seventh Blue Devil to open their collegiate career with consecutive seasons of 33+ wins. She has been ranked in the ITA singles poll throughout the season and climbed as high as No. 20. Chi has also combined with Hannah Zhao on a 17-6 doubles record, including a team-best 10-3 in the ACC.
“I don’t think we’ve had someone, through the course of the year, improve as much as Meible has from the fall to spring,” commented Ashworth. “She rededicated herself at the start of the spring and at the end of the fall. We told her that if she put in the time and trusted us as coaches and she’s been amazing with that. She’s been a solid rock for us all year. We asked her to take a step back to three doubles and she’s handled herself amazingly on and off the court.”
McCarthy and Hamlin were each named to the All-ACC team for the second time in their careers, after both earned the honor in the 2016 season. McCarthy has a 25-10 overall record this season and is 11-2 in the ACC. The Cary, N.C., native played on courts two, three and four this season, going 5-1 at No. 2, 8-3 at No. 3 and 3-0 on No. 4. Hamlin has amassed a record of 29-5 this season and went 13-1 in conference. She has been dominant on court five, winning 17 of her 18 matches there as well as going 5-1 on court four.
“Ellyse has really taken advantage of every opportunity she’s had,” Ashworth said. “This is the most mature she’s been in her three years. She recognizes that if you put in the work, you get the results. If she played herself from a year ago, she would win 6-0, 6-0 today. It’s no comparison with the fun she’s having on the court, the work she’s put in and the confidence she has.”
McCarthy and Hamlin have paired together to win 26 of their 33 doubles matches this season. The duo went 10-2 on court two and 5-3 on court one. McCarthy and Hamlin won each of their three matches during Duke’s run to the ACC tournament final, beating ranked teams in every match. Their 26 wins are tied for ninth all-time by a Duke duo in a single season.
“In a lot of our matches, Kaitlyn has come up big,” said Ashworth. “Kaitlyn’s steady and has some of the best pure strokes on our team. Her forehand is one of the best in the conference when she chooses to hit it and be aggressive. In doubles, we’ve told her to let go and play free and she’s done a really good job with that. Like Ellyse, Kaitlyn’s matured a lot in her three years and hopefully this is an award she can build upon with some confidence.”
Duke will open NCAA Tournament play against Furman on May 11 at 4 p.m., in Ambler Tennis Stadium.
2018 All-ACC Women’s Tennis Awards
Player of the Year
Estela Perez-Somarriba, SO, Miami
Freshman of the Year
Kelly Chen, Duke
Coach of the Year
Jamie Ashworth, Duke
2018 All-ACC Women’s Tennis Teams
Marie-Alexandre Leduc**, JR, Clemson
Samantha Harris****, SR, Duke
Carla Touly, SO, Florida State
Paige Hourigan****, SR, Georgia Tech
Estela Perez-Somarriba**, SO, Miami
Makenna Jones, SO, North Carolina
Gabriela Knutson, JR, Syracuse
Rosie Johanson**, SO, Virginia
Emma Davis, JR, Wake Forest
Kelly Chen, FR, Duke
Meible Chi**, SO, Duke
Petra Hule, FR, Florida State
Kenya Jones, SO, Georgia Tech
Sinead Lohan****, SR, Miami
Sara Daavettila**, SO, North Carolina
Alexa Graham**, SO, North Carolina
Alle Sanford, FR, North Carolina
Natalie Novotna**, SO, Virginia Tech
Asiya Dair****, Boston College
Fernanda Navarro, JR, Clemson
Kaitlyn McCarthy**, JR, Duke
Ellyse Hamlin**, JR, Duke
Johnnise Renaud****, SR, Georgia Tech
Anna Rogers**, SO, NC State
Adriana Reami, SO, NC State
Allison Miller, SR, Notre Dame
Meghan Kelley, JR, Virginia
* - denotes number of All-ACC honors