DURHAM, N.C. - The fourth-ranked Duke women's tennis team ousted 46th-ranked VCU, 7-0, Saturday afternoon in the Sheffield Indoor Tennis Center. The victory was Duke head coach Jamie Ashworth's 347th of his career, and he is now just five wins away from setting the all-time ACC wins mark.
"We did a good job in singles, putting them away after winning the doubles point," Ashworth said. "Rachel [Kahan] played a great match. We get really quick matches out of Rachel after the doubles, and we need that."
In doubles play, sophomore Hanna Mar and freshman Annie Mulholland notched a quick 8-3 win over Josefin Hjertquist and Daria Yakauleva in the No. 2 spot. The win improved the duo's mark to 9-3 overall and 4-1 in dual matches. At the No. 3 spot, freshman Ester Goldfeld and senior Monica Gorny defeated Alena Gerasimova and Salome Kvitashvili, 8-6, to clinch the doubles point for Duke.
Ranked 18th in the country as a tandem, freshman Beatrice Capra and sophomore Rachel Kahan fell behind 5-3 to VCU's 42nd-ranked duo of Alex and Ana Bara in the No. 1 doubles matchup. Facing two match points, the Blue Devils duo battled back to tie the match at 8-8 and eventually won the match 9-8 (7-4) to seal the doubles sweep for Duke. With the win, Capra and Kahan improved their record to 10-0 in 2012.
"We definitely weren't playing our best, but we just fought through it and knew that even without our best stuff, we could pull it out," Kahan said.
Capra agreed with Kahan that the duo struggled throughout the match, but believes their confidence and tough play made the difference.
"Our coaches told us to work on improving [and how] it doesn't matter if it's a win or loss," said Capra. "I think we really stepped up and were aggressive, and I think that kind of threw off our opponent."
In singles action, the 96th-ranked Kahan cruised past Hjertquist, 6-1, 6-1, at the No. 3 spot to give Duke a 2-0 lead, while freshman and 54th-ranked Monica Turewicz easily dismantled Olga Terteac, 6-2, 6-1, from the No. 5 spot.
Ranked third in the country, Capra picked up a dominating victory over Ana Bara in No. 1 singles to clinch the match for the Blue Devils. The Ellicott City, Md. native improved her record to 13-3 overall and 7-1 in dual singles matches this season.
Junior Mary Clayton, ranked 89th, won a hard-fought battle, 7-5, 6-4, at the No. 4 spot over Yakauleva, while Mulholland ousted Gerasimova, 6-2, 6-2, in the No. 6 spot. The 111th-ranked player in the country, Goldfeld sealed the shutout with a 7-6 (7-3), 6-2 over Alex Bara in the No. 2 spot.
On approaching the ACC all-time wins mark, Ashworth gives a lot of his thanks to the players and other individuals involved with the program during his 16 years at the helm of Duke's women's tennis team.
"It means a lot to the program more than anything," Ashworth stated. "I wouldn't be in that position today without the great players we've had, going back to my first team here with Vanessa Webb, Kathy Sell, Kristin Sanderson and that group. It's more of a tribute to the players and the administration that we've had. We've been given a lot of opportunities going back to when I was hired, with Tom Butters and Joe Alleva, and now Kevin [White], and with the support we've had , it's been great to see our program grow."
The Blue Devils return to action next Saturday when they travel to South Bend, Ind. to face 23rd-ranked Notre Dame at 3:30 p.m.