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DURHAM, N.C. – High school senior Alyssa Smith of Laguna Niguel, Calif., signed a national letter of intent as announced by Duke women’s tennis head coach Jamie Ashworth on Thursday. Smith, who is currently ranked No. 9 in the Babolat National Recruiting List, as well as No. 1 in the Babolat Southwest list and No. 1 in the Babolat California poll, is set to join the Blue Devils in the fall of 2013.

“We could not be happier to have Alyssa joining the Duke tennis family,” said Ashworth. “Her dedication to becoming a champion both on and off the court is something we truly love about her.  She is determined to not only be the best tennis player she can be but also the best teammate, and that is something unique. I know she will have a tremendous impact on our program over her four years here at Duke and will make all of those around her better.  During both her unofficial and official visits we could really see how much Alyssa wanted to be a part of everything that Duke has to offer. We are excited to have her here and cannot wait to get started with her.”

As a member of the Dana Hills High School team, Smith has led the Dolphins to an 18-2 record, holding a perfect 32-0 mark in singles play. Over her four years at Dana Hills, Smith has compiled a 129-5 singles record. In addition to serving as team captain, Smith has been a CIF league champion in singles, won the Southern California team championship last season and is set to compete in her first state championship this fall. In tournament play outside of high school matches, Smith owns a 34-13 record this year including a 14-8 record against Blue Chip players.

“Duke offers the best of both athletics and academics in a beautiful place with strong traditions and high standards,” said Smith.  “I was really looking for a place that could challenge me athletically and academically, and Duke is the perfect combination. I also really liked the fact that it is a smaller school where you really get to know your professors and your classmates rather than being lost in a sea of students.  Everyone at Duke also seems to have a similar attitude about hard work-- really putting in the time, effort, and dedication to succeed.”  

This summer, Smith competed in a number of national events and ITF circuit events, highlighted by a win at the USTA National Open in Palm Desert, Calif., in February. More recently, Smith advanced to the semifinals in two of her last three tournaments including semifinal appearances in the USTA National Open July 2-4 in Lakewood, Calif., and USTA Regional Tournament July 7-10 in Irvine, Calif. In August, Smith advanced to the round of 16 in the USTA National Championships before falling to third-ranked Samantha Crawford. Smith won the 16 and under international hard court championships in Carson, Calif., was a finalist at the 2011 Eddie Herr Championships in Bradenton, Fla., as well as a finalist at the USTA National 16 and under championships in San Diego, Calif. 

“Jamie and Marc are both extremely hard working and passionate in their coaching,” said Smith. “They are dedicated to helping each and every player on their team reach their potential. I am so excited to work with both of them. The girls were also super welcoming to me.  They treated me as a part of the team from the beginning and it made it very easy to be around all of them… I'm excited about being part of the team next year and working towards ultimately winning a national championship.”


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