RALEIGH, N.C. – Sophomore Ester Goldfeld won 11 consecutive games in her singles match to lead the Duke women’s tennis team to its 28th consecutive victory in Atlantic Coast Conference season openers as it cruised past N.C. State, 4-1, Saturday at the Dail Outdoor Stadium. The seventh-ranked Blue Devils now own a 10-3 record on the year, and have won 12 consecutive regular season conference matches after tallying a perfect 11-0 mark in ACC play last season.
“I thought we competed really well and played with a lot more emotion than we have the last two weeks, which was something we talked about before the match,” said head coach Jamie Ashworth. “It is something we have to keep doing. No matter who we play, we can’t take anyone for granted and need to keep playing with emotion. I think we did that today.”
In doubles action, Duke jumped out to early leads on all three courts and carried that momentum to claim the doubles point for the 11th time this season. The duo of junior Hanna Mar and sophomore Annie Mulholland broke serve early to take a 3-1 lead in the match, and carried that momentum to an 8-4 victory over Elisha Hande and Nicole Martinez on court two.
In the first position, the 11th-ranked duo of Goldfeld and senior Mary Clayton took a 4-1 lead over Joelle Kissell and Tatiana Illova, but dropped consecutive serves to find themselves level at 4-4. The Blue Devil duo was able to overcome the change in momentum, eventually downing Kissell and Illova, 8-6, to clinch the doubles point.
On court three, the tandem of junior Marianne Jodoin and senior Nicole Lipp fell behind 7-4, but turn the match around, holding an 8-7 lead over Chloe Smith and Sophie Nelson when the point was decided.
In singles play, Lipp won her first game as a collegiate tennis player on court six against Christy Sipes, but dropped the next two to find herself down 2-1. A four-time letter winner for the Duke women’s soccer team, Lipp was unable to slow Sipes, falling, 6-3, 6-0, in her first match as a Blue Devil after joining the team just a week ago.
On court three, No. 88 Clayton and Rachel James-Baker were level at 4-4 in the first set before Clayton broke serve to take the set, and eventually the match, 6-4, 6-3. Goldfeld, the 35th ranked player in the latest ITA poll, dropped serve in the second position against Illova to fall behind 3-1 in the first set, but cruised through 11 consecutive games to take the match, 6-3, 6-0, to give Duke a commanding 3-1 lead over the Wolfpack.
In the fourth position, Mulholland broke serve to take a 3-0 lead against Smith and cruised through the first set, 6-1. Mulholland fell behind 4-1 in the second set, but broke serve twice to rally back to level the match at 4-4. The Portland, Ore., native went on to win the set, 7-5, to clinch the match for Duke.
In the top position, No. 16 Mar held a 7-5, 1-2 lead over No. 63 Kissell while Jodoin, ranked No. 84 in the ITA poll, held a 6-4, 3-3, edge against Hande when the match was clinched.
The Blue Devils return to the courts Sunday as they play host to Wake Forest at 12 p.m. at Ambler Tennis Stadium. For live stats and video, visit Tennis Gameday Central.
“We just have to keep getting better no matter who we play,” Ashworth said. “Tomorrow we need to keep doing the little things better than we have been. It is really important that we don’t take anyone for granted. Wake Forest hasn’t had the best of results, but they have a lot of good players, and we need to come out and be ready to go right from the start.”
Tennis Match Results Duke vs NC State Mar 23, 2013 at Raleigh, N.C. (Dail Outdoor Stadium)
#7 Duke 4, #40 NC State 1
Singles competition 1. #63 Joelle Kissell (NCSU) vs. #16 Hanna Mar (DUKE) 5-7, 2-1, unfinished 2. #35 Ester Goldfeld (DUKE) def. Tatiana Illova (NCSU) 6-3, 6-0 3. #88 Mary Clayton (DUKE) def. Rachael James-Baker (NCSU) 6-4, 6-3 4. Annie Mulholland (DUKE) def. Chloe Smith (NCSU) 6-1, 7-5 5. Elisha Hande (NCSU) vs. #84 Marianne Jodoin (DUKE) 4-6, 3-3, unfinished 6. Christy Sipes (NCSU) def. Nicole Lipp (DUKE) 6-3, 6-0