DURHAM, N.C. – The 10th-ranked Duke women’s tennis team started the dual match season on a strong note, dispatching No. 40 William & Mary by a 6-1 score Sunday, Jan. 12 at the Sheffield Indoor Tennis Center. Head coach Jamie Ashworth’s squad captured the doubles point and won five of six matches in singles in its spring debut.
“Just getting out and playing against some different competition was exciting,” Ashworth said. “Across the board we got off to good starts in all the singles matches.”
Playing in the new six-game doubles pro set format for the first time, Duke’s duo of seniors Rachel Kahan and Marianne Jodoin set the tone early, jumping out to a 3-0 advantage over the Tribe’s Julia Casselbury and Melanie Roy. Kahan and Jodoin continued to roll, leading the Blue Devils off the courts with a 6-1 victory. The match marked Kahan’s first action in well over a year, as she missed the 2012-13 campaign due to injury.
“It was good to get Rachel back out on the court,” Ashworth said. “For us to have some options to work with was exciting from a coaching standpoint because we could do some different things with our lineup.”
Duke also had early momentum on court one, where the 14th-ranked pair of juniors Annie Mulholland and Ester Goldfeld went up three breaks at 4-1 against Maria Belaya and Leeza Nemchinov of William & Mary. Despite a late answer from the Tribe, Mulholland and Goldfeld went on to win by a 6-3 score, giving the Blue Devils their first doubles point of the season.
Duke continued to be the aggressor in singles play, claiming first sets on all six courts. Jodoin cruised to a 6-0, 6-0 victory over the Tribe’s Smith on court five and freshman Chalena Scholl followed just minutes later with a 6-0, 6-0 win against Roy on court three to extend the Blue Devils’ advantage in the match to 3-0. Scholl’s victory marked the first of her collegiate career in singles while Jodoin improved to 8-5 overall.
“It was really exciting with our first match and it being a home match,” Scholl said. “I definitely like to hit my forehand. It’s always a fine line for me not doing too much and not doing too little. I think I did that really well today.”
Smith then clinched the match for Duke from the No. 6 position, topping Casselbury of William & Mary, 6-2, 6-0 to move to 8-3 on the season. Forty-fifth ranked Goldfeld added a 6-2, 6-2 victory over No. 89 Nemchinov in the No. 2 match and 49th-ranked Mar battled through a couple of tough games in the second set to defeat No. 65 Belaya in the contest on court one by scores of 6-2, 6-2.
In the final match on court four, Mulholland took the first set against the Tribe’s Farah, 6-4, before Farah won a grueling second set by a score of 6-4. The third set super tiebreaker saw Mulholland fall behind, 1-4 and rally to tie it up at 6-6 and again at 9-9 before ultimately falling by an 11-9 score.
“We’ve been working hard since September doing different things and trying to put it all together for the second half of our season,” Ashworth said.
The Blue Devils will next travel to Las Vegas, Nev., Jan. 17-19 to take part in the Freeman Memorial Championships.
William & Mary vs. Duke
Jan. 12, 2014 at Durham, N.C.
(Sheffield Indoor Tennis Center)
#10 Duke 6, #40 William & Mary 1
1. #49 Hanna Mar (DU) def. Maria Belaya (WM) 6-2, 6-2
2. #45 Ester Goldfeld (DU) def. #89 Leeza Nemchinov (WM) 6-2, 6-2
3. Chalena Scholl (DU) def. Melanie Roy (WM) 6-0, 6-0
4. Nabila Farah (WM) def. Annie Mulholland (DU) 4-6, 6-4, 1-0 (11-9)
5. Marianne Jodoin (DU) def. Sydney Smith (WM) 6-0, 6-0
6. Alyssa Smith (DU) def. Julia Casselbury (WM) 6-2, 6-0
1. #14 Annie Mulholland/Ester Goldfeld (DU) def. Maria Belaya/Leeza Nemchinov (WM) 6-3|
2. Beatrice Capra/Hanna Mar (DU) vs. Nabila Farah/Sydney Smith (WM) 4-3, unfinished
3. Rachel Kahan/Marianne Jodoin (DU) def. Julia Casselbury/Melanie Roy (WM) 6-1
William & Mary 0-1; National ranking #40
Duke University 1-0; National ranking #10
Order of finish: Doubles (3,1); Singles (5,3,6,2,1,4)