DURHAM, N.C. -The Duke women's tennis team won its 16th straight match, recorded its program record 17th shutout of the season and defeated South Carolina 4-0 on its way to advancing to the third round of the 2012 NCAA Women's Tennis Championships on Saturday afternoon at Ambler Tennis Stadium. The Blue Devils have now reached at least the third round 20 times in their 24 total tournament appearances.
"That's always one of our goals: to be one of the last 16 teams," head coach Jamie Ashworth said. "We played better today than we did yesterday. I thought we played really good doubles, especially at one and two, and kind of took away any momentum they would have."
Duke (27-2, 11-0 ACC) jumped out to 4-1 leads on all three doubles courts to open the afternoon, as their 21st-ranked doubles team comprised of junior Mary Clayton and freshman Ester Goldfeld defeated South Carolina's (16-9) 38th-ranked duo of Jaklin Alawi and Dijana Stojic, 8-2, in the No. 1 spot. On court three, senior Monica Gorny and sophomore Hanna Mar clinched the doubles point with an 8-4 victory over Josefin Andersson and Katerina Popova.
The Blue Devils carried their momentum into singles play, as Kahan, ranked 85th, picked up her 20th dual singles win of the season with a solid 6-1, 7-5 win over Kanakova in the No. 4 spot. Playing in the No. 2 spot, Goldfeld, ranked 110th, extended the Duke lead with a 6-3, 6-4 upset victory against the 88th-ranked Alawi.
"The whole match I was struggling to find a good range between being defensive and aggressive and I think I finally found it, so that really helped," Goldfeld said. "I win most of my points when I'm inside the baseline. It wasn't as clean of a match as I wanted it to be, but that's where I win most of my points so I kept going for it and knew eventually my balls would go in."
Leading 3-0, the Blue Devils claimed the win when freshman and 97th-ranked Monica Turewicz collected a hard-fought 6-2, 7-6 (7-1) victory over Adriana Pereira on court six to clinch the overall match. The Lake Forest, Ill., native, who also clinched Duke's 4-2 victory over North Carolina in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Championship match back on April 22, has won 12 consecutive singles matches and owns a 29-3 overall record this season.
With the win, Duke also set a new school record with its 14th home victory this season, passing the 2009 and 2010 teams who previously held the mark with 13.
"A day off will be good tomorrow for us tomorrow," Ashworth stated. "As a whole, I think we just have to keep getting sharper. We have to keep putting ourselves in pressure situations and work on finishing points."
Next up, Duke will travel to Athens, Ga., for the third round of the NCAA tournament, where the Blue Devils will face a familiar opponent in ACC rival Virginia (20-7, 7-4 ACC) on Thursday, May 17 at 4 p.m. Duke defeated Virginia 4-3 in Charlottesville during the regular season, before downing the Cavaliers 4-0 in the semifinals of the ACC tournament.
"As a group, we're excited," Ashworth said of the team advancing. "We're all looking forward to the opportunity to get down there [to Athens] and give ourselves a chance."
No. 3 Duke 4, No. 30 South Carolina 0 May 12, 2012 at Durham, N.C. (Ambler Tennis Stadium)