CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - In a battle of top-five teams to determine the 2012 ITA National Women's Team Indoor Champion, the third-ranked Duke women's tennis team fell 4-0 at the hands of fourth-ranked UCLA Monday afternoon. The loss was Duke's first in 2012, after the Blue Devils started the spring 8-0 for just the third time in program history.
"We just had to play from behind all day," said head coach Jamie Ashworth. "We were never able to get momentum against them."
In doubles, the Blue Devils picked up a quick victory in the No. 2 spot, as freshman Beatrice Capra and sophomore Rachel Kahan upset the 12th-ranked tandem in the country comprised of the Bruins' Robin Anderson and Skylar Morton. The victory continued the Duke duo's undefeated start to 2012, improving their record to 9-0.
At the No. 1 spot, junior Mary Clayton and freshman Ester Goldfeld hung tough, but were outlasted, 8-4, by the 23rd-ranked tandem of Courtney Dolehide and Pamela Montez.
Sophomore Hanna Mar and freshman Annie Mulholland found themselves in a back-and-forth battle against McCall Jones and Carling Seguso in the No. 3 spot with the doubles point on the line. Mar and Mulholland fell behind 4-3, but broke the Bruins' duo to grab a 5-4 lead. UCLA rebounded to grab a 7-6 advantage, but Mar and Mulholland fought off two match points to tie the contest at seven all. Jones and Seguso held on and claimed a 9-7 win to clinch the doubles point for the Bruins. The loss marked the first time in 2012 that the Blue Devils failed to win the doubles point in dual match play.
Singles action duplicated the drama of doubles, as five of the six doubles matches reached a third set.
The first match to finish was on court six, as freshman and 35th-ranked Monica Turewicz fell 7-5, 6-4 to Kaitlin Ray. The loss was Turewicz's first in 2011-12, dropping her record to 12-1 overall.
With the Bruins ahead 2-0, Duke junior Mary Clayton could not regain her momentum after winning the first set, falling 6-4, 4-6, 4-6, to Chenelle Van Nguyen in the No. 5 spot. Just minutes later, the seventh-ranked Capra lost her No. 1 singles bout to the eighth-ranked Anderson, 6-1, 3-6, 6-2. Capra and Anderson are the nation's two highest-ranked freshman in the country.
Despite the final score, the Blue Devils were never out of the match. Ranked 38th, Mar dropped the first set of her match in the No. 2 spot, 6-1, and fell behind 5-2 in the second set, before rallying to take the final five games and win the set, 7-5. Before the overall match concluded, Mar led 4-2 in the third set.
Goldfeld was also in the driver's seat in her No. 3 singles match, winning the first set 6-1 over the 70th-ranked Montez. The Brooklyn, N.Y. native lost a hard-fought second set, 7-6 (7-2), but led the third set 4-3 prior to UCLA claiming the 4-0 win. Kahan, ranked 118th, was tied 5-5 in the third set at the No. 4 spot against Morton.
After a 12-day break, the Blue Devils will return to Durham and host Virginia Commonwealth on Saturday, Feb. 25 at 11 a.m.
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