No. 4 Duke sweeps No. 2 Florida for first time in program history
DURHAM, N.C. -- After dropping a close match to Florida in the semifinals of the NCAA tournament last season, fourth-ranked Duke returned the favor by sweeping No. 2 Florida 4-0 on Sunday at the Sheffield Indoor Tennis Center. The win was the Blue Devils fifth win in program history against the Gators dating back to their first meeting in 1977, and was the first time in program history that Duke has swept Florida.
"We competed so well, and played with a lot of heart and a lot of pride," head coach Jamie Ashworth said. "I thought the doubles point was huge for us. In between the doubles and the singles, I knew at that point we really believed that we could win the match, and for the last few days before the match we had talked about believing in themselves and believing in each other, and I thought we did a really good job of that. For us to beat them 4-0 was a really good effort."
In doubles action, the Blue Devils and Gators battled for almost two hours for the crucial doubles point. On court three, sophomore Monica Turewicz and junior Hanna Mar fell behind a break early, but were able to overcome it to top Olivia Janowicz and Danielle Collins 8-4. On the first court, the seventh-ranked tandem of senior Mary Clayton and sophomore Ester Goldfeld dropped a hard fought match to Lauren Embree and Sofie Oyen 8-4.
After being tied at one, the doubles point came down to the match on court two between the Duke duo of sophomore Annie Mulholland and junior Marianne Jodoin and Florida's Alexandra Cercone and Brianna Morgan. Mulholland and Jodoin jumped out to an early 2-0, but were unable to hold serve as Cercone and Morgan leveled the match at 2-2. After trading games to become tied at six, both teams held serve to push the match into a tiebreaker. Jodoin and Mulholland fell behind 3-1 in the tiebreaker, but won six consecutive points to win the match and clinch the doubles point for Duke.
In singles action, the Blue Devils came out a little sluggish, dropping the first set on four of the six courts, however Turewicz maintained the momentum from the doubles matches and took the first set easily against Collins, 6-3. Playing in the fourth position, Turewicz continued her solid play and claimed her 21st consecutive singles win as she cruised to consecutive set wins against Collins 6-3, 7-5. Turewicz ended her freshman campaign with 15 consecutive singles victories and has now recorded a perfect 6-0 record this season.
In the second position, Goldfeld, ranked 45th in the most recent ITA poll, claimed the first set against No. 9 Oyen 6-4, but dropped serve in the second to find herself down 5-2. Goldfeld was able to turn around the momentum by breaking serve and recorded the next five games en route to a 7-5 win, giving the Blue Devils a 3-0 lead in the match.
Jodoin dropped the first set 6-1 in the sixth position against Janowicz, but battled back to top Janowicz 6-4 in the second to force the match into a third set. In the third, Jodoin cruised 6-2 to clinch the match for Duke. Jodoin has now tallied a perfect 7-0 record in dual matches as a Blue Devil after transferring from Fresno State during the summer.
"We just went out there and just said let's find a way," Jodoin. said "I obviously wasn't there last year [at the NCAA tournament], but we decided that we just wanted to go out there and show everyone that we are a good team this year. We played unbelievably and played with so much emotion on every single court."
On court three, Clayton faced No. 116 Alexandra Cercone, the same opponent Clayton played last season in the NCAA tournament, and after dropping the first set 4-6, she battled back to claim the second set 6-1. In the third and final set, Clayton was up 5-2 when the match was clinched. In the top position, No. 14 Mar dropped the first set to fourth-ranked Embree, but won the second set 7-6 (7-2) to push her match into a third set when the match was decided. Mulholland was also in the beginning of the third set against Morgan when the match was clinched.