CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – The 11th-ranked Duke women’s tennis team dropped its second consecutive Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) match Wednesday, falling to top-ranked North Carolina, 4-0, at the Cone-Kenfield Tennis Center. With the loss, the Blue Devils drop to 14-7 on the season, including 5-4 in ACC play.
“We have to execute when we get opportunities,” said head coach Jamie Ashworth. “We had some opportunities to win some sets today and we just have to take advantage of those opportunities. We cannot just rely on our talent. We’ve got to do all of the little things right along the way, and against a team like North Carolina, you aren’t going to get 10 opportunities, so you need to get it right the first time. I thought North Carolina played well. They are No. 1 in the country for a reason.”
In doubles play, Duke was forced to forfeit the third doubles position after being limited to just five players for the fifth consecutive match. On court two, the duo of junior Marianne Jodoin and sophomore Annie Mulholland fell behind No. 52 Caroline Price and Whitney Kay, 5-0, before Jodoin was able to hold serve, temporarily shifting momentum. Despite the great game, Price and Kay were too much for the Blue Devils, and eventually topped Jodoin and Mulholland, 8-1.
On court one, the tandem of senior Mary Clayton and junior Hanna Mar traded games with Lauren McHale and Ashley Dai and were locked at 5-5 when the doubles point was clinched.
“In doubles we just can’t afford to get down 0-4 or 0-5,” said head coach Jamie Ashworth. “We have to be better than that. I thought we were a little defensive out of the gates, and you just can’t do that. We get in such a hole when we lose doubles that it puts a lot of pressure on us in singles. What I told the team after the match is that we are better. The great thing is that it is April 17 and we are still getting better.”
As the Blue Devils moved into singles, the Tar Heels held a 2-0 advantage after Duke was forced to forfeit the sixth position. On court five, senior Nicole Lipp was unable to slow McHale, falling, 6-0, 6-1. In the second position, Clayton was unable to hold serve in her first two attempts, falling behind 0-5 to No. 40 Zoe De Bruycker. Despite the deficit, the Fort Lauderdale, Fla., native did not give up, and rallied by breaking serve to bring the match to 3-5, before De Bruycker responded by firing a number of big serves to close out the set, and eventually the match, 6-3, 6-2, to clinch the match for the Tar Heels.
On court three, Mulholland responded to her defeat in doubles by breaking serve and jumping out to a 2-0 lead against No. 33 Kay. Mulholland continued to rip a number of forehands that painted the lines, and closed out the set, 6-4. After taking a medical timeout in the second set, Mulholland received treatment, but could not regain the momentum that she had generated in the first set, dropping the second, 6-0. Kay held a 3-1 edge in the third set when the match was decided.
In the fourth position, Jodoin fell behind 2-4 against No. 52 Price, but broke serve to level the match at 4-4. After trading games, Jodoin was unable to hold serve and dropped the first set, 7-5. The Varennes, Quebec native was trailing 2-4 in the second set when the match was clinched.
In the top spot, No. 25 Mar fell behind 1-4 to ninth-ranked Gina Suarez-Malaguti, but battled back by demonstrating some incredible hustle plays to keep points alive, and forcing Suarez-Malaguti into a number of unforced errors. Mar eventually took the set, 7-5, and was leading 2-1 in the second set when the match was decided.
The Blue Devils conclude their ACC regular season with two road matches, starting with a trip to College Park, Md., to take on Maryland Friday, April. 19 at 1 p.m. The team will then travel to play Boston College Saturday, April 20 at 5 p.m.
#1 North Carolina 4, #11 Duke 0 Apr 17, 2013 at Chapel Hill, N.C. (Cone-Kenfield Tennis Center)
1. #9 Gina Suarez-Malaguti (NC) vs. #25 Hanna Mar (DUKE) 5-7, 1-2, unfinished
2. #40 Zoe De Bruycker (NC) def. #101 Mary Clayton (DUKE) 6-3, 6-2