ATHENS, Ga. – The No. 15 Duke women's tennis team made its return to the NCAA Team Championship Round of 16 on Friday morning, but fell 4-0 to No. 2 North Carolina. The Blue Devils (22-6) dropped the doubles point before responding with three first sets in singles, but the Tar Heels (33-2) put away the match.
“We are better off than we were a year ago,” head coach Jamie Ashworth said. “We did a good job of getting here. No way we were satisfied with getting here, but I think we have a future to keep building on. The biggest thing I thought was we started the season with a bunch of individuals, and right now it's a true family. They really did a good job of playing for each other. That's the toughest thing to see end – knowing how much they put in for each other.”
Duke faced an uphill battle after surrendering the doubles point to the Tar Heels. On court three, junior Samantha Harris and sophomore Ellyse Hamlin were handed a 6-1 loss by North Carolina's Sara Daavettila and Makenna Jones after falling behind 3-0 to start the match.
The Tar Heels then wrapped up the doubles point with a win on court one, where the 42nd-ranked duo of freshman Meible Chi and sophomore Kaitlyn McCarthy dropped a 6-2 decision to No. 4 Hayley Carter and Jessie Aney.
Although the Blue Devils claimed first sets on three of the six courts in singles, North Carolina was able to extend its lead in the match to 2-0 when Carter, the second ranked player in the latest Oracle/Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) singles poll, defeated No. 80 Harris, 6-0, 6-3, on court one.
Forty-third ranked Chi suffered a 6-2, 6-1 setback to No. 18 Daavettila in the No. 2 slot, snapping a two-match NCAA Team Championship win streak for the Blue Devil rookie. Chi dropped to 32-15 overall and 17-9 in dual match play.
Thirty-fifth ranked Aney clinched the contest for the Tar Heels from the No. 3 position, holding off senior Chalena Scholl, 6-4, 6-4. Scholl, the 55th-ranked player in the ITA poll, was knotted at 4-all with Aney in the first set and remained within striking distance in the second set, but was unable to pull off the comeback.
McCarthy, senior Alyssa Smith and Hamlin all captured first sets on courts four, five and six.
“Just take advantage of the opportunity and have fun with it and learn from it,” Ashworth said of the NCAA Singles Tournament. "We have a senior who has never played in the individuals before, and we have a freshman – this will be her first time. So on both ends of the spectrum we are there.”
With the team portion of Duke's season reaching its conclusion, Scholl and Chi will now shift their attention to the NCAA Singles Championship. Both were at-large selections to the event, slated for May 24-29 in Athens, while McCarthy was named an alternate for the singles competition.
No. 2 North Carolina 4, No. 15 Duke 0
May 19, 2017 at Athens, Ga. (Dan Magill Tennis Complex)
1. #2 Hayley Carter (NORTH CAROLINA) def. #80 Samantha Harris (DUKE), 6-0, 6-3
2. #18 Sara Daavettila (NORTH CAROLINA) def. #43 Meible Chi (DUKE), 6-2, 6-1
3. #35 Jessie Aney (NORTH CAROLINA) def. #55 Chalena Scholl (DUKE), 6-4, 6-4
4. #99 Kaitlyn McCarthy (DUKE) vs. #74 Alexa Graham (NORTH CAROLINA), 7-5, 4-1, uf
5. Alyssa Smith (DUKE) vs. #100 Makenna Jones (NORTH CAROLINA), 6-4, 2-3, uf
6. Ellyse Hamlin (DUKE) vs.Chloe Ouellet-Pizer (NORTH CAROLINA), 7-6, 2-2, uf
1. #4 Jessie Aney/Hayley Carter (NORTH CAROLINA) def. #42 Kaitlyn McCarthy/Meible Chi (DUKE), 6-2
2.Cassandra Vazquez/Alexa Graham (NORTH CAROLIINA) vs. Alyssa Smith/Chalena Scholl (DUKE), 5-3, uf
3.Sara Daavettila/Makenna Jones (NORTH CAROLINA) def. Samantha Harris/ Ellyse Hamlin (DUKE), 6-1
Duke 22-6; National ranking #15
North Carolina 33-2; National ranking #2
Order of finish: Doubles (3,1); Singles (1,2,3)
NCAA Team Championship Round of 16