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DURHAM, N.C. – The seventh-ranked Duke women’s tennis team opens conference play this weekend as it travels to Raleigh to take on No. 40 N.C. State Saturday, March 23 at 12 p.m., before returning home to play host to Wake Forest Sunday, March 24 at 12 p.m. at Ambler Tennis Stadium. The Blue Devils have won 27 consecutive ACC openers, including 16 straight under head coach Jamie Ashworth.

“ACC play has always defined our program to be 100 percent honest,” Ashworth said. “It’s what we’ve built our program around. The tradition of the ACC conference has really motivated us to be where we are on a national level. Right now, our conference is the toughest in the country, so we are definitely excited to get conference play under way.”

The Blue Devils enter the match with four players listed in the latest Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) singles rankings, led by junior Hanna Mar at No. 16. Mar has posted a 4-3 singles record this season, playing each match in either the first or second position. In addition to Mar, sophomore Ester Goldfeld (No. 35), junior Marianne Jodoin (No. 84) and senior Mary Clayton (No. 88) are each listed in the ITA poll.

Duke also boasts three doubles teams in the rankings, highlighted by the 11th-ranked tandem of Clayton and Goldfeld. The Blue Devil duo has posted a 6-2 record in dual match play this season, including a 3-1 tally over nationally ranked opponents. Goldfeld is also tabbed in two other doubles pairs in the rankings, as she comes in at No. 35 when paired with Mar and No. 51 when teamed with sophomore Annie Mulholland.

The N.C. State is off to its best start since 1995, tallying a 10-2 overall record this season including a 1-1 mark in ACC play after falling to North Carolina, 4-3, Friday. The Wolfpack are led by junior Joelle Kissell, who was tabbed at No. 63 in the most recent ITA poll. The Blue Devils and Wolfpack will meet for the 54th time in program history Saturday, with Duke holding the series lead, 52-1. The lone loss for the Blue Devils came on April 14, 2007, when N.C. State won 5-2 in Raleigh.

The squad will return home to host Wake Forest (1-11, 0-2 ACC), the 59th meeting between the two programs. Duke leads the all-time series, 54-4, including five consecutive wins over the Demon Deacons. Wake Forest is led by senior Kathryn Talbert, who owns a 7-4 singles mark this season while playing in the top-position for the Demon Deacons.

Live stats and Twitter updates (@Duke_WTEN)will be available for both matches this weekend by clicking on the link above, or by visiting the Duke Tennis Gameday Central page. Live video will also be available for Sunday’s match against Wake Forest.

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