Senior Day was more than just a ceremony Friday.
Duke’s two seniors—Hanna Mar and Marianne Jodoin—won singles matches to clinch a victory against Boston College, as the Blue Devils rolled to a 6-1 win at Ambler Tennis Stadium Friday.
“Both played well, and they had to play well and play with a lot of energy,” Duke head coach Jamie Ashworth said. “I think they both did a good job of handling their emotions, and not coming out and thinking about Senior Day things but thinking about what [they] needed to do.”
The win was the 13th in a row for the top-ranked Blue Devils (21-1, 11-1 in the ACC), and ensured a undefeated 11-0 home record for Duke this season. The Blue Devils also maintained a perfect 10-0 record in the all-time series against Boston College (12-8, 4-6).
Doubles was a relatively straightforward affair, with the Blue Devils racing out to leads on all three courts and maintaining control throughout. The 20th-ranked duo of freshman Alyssa Smith and junior Ester Goldfeld knocked off Katya Vasilyev and Wan-Yi Sweeting at second doubles 8-2, and Jodoin and junior Annie Mulholland took care of business at third doubles, with Jodoin serving out the match to knock off Emily Safron and Heini Salonen, 8-3.
“Just before the doubles, we talked about finishing what we’ve started,” Ashworth said. “We’ve made this a tough place to play all year, and this is our last home match. I think we did a good job with our discipline and our decision-making. And we just never let up.”
No. 23 Goldfeld, playing in the first singles spot, increased Duke’s lead with a 6-1, 6-1 victory against Jessica Wacnik. Mar, ranked 32nd, then gave the Blue Devils an opportunity to clinch with her 6-1, 6-2 win, topping Vasilyev at second singles. The senior was able to seize control of the match early, thriving in the windy conditions Friday.
“Hanna did a good job of being aggressive and coming forward, and being emotionally engaged in the match,” Ashworth said. “And when she does that, she’s really tough to beat.”
Jodoin provided the finishing touch at fifth singles, rolling in the first set before having to slog it out in the second. Despite dropping a marathon game to Safron at 3-3, Jodoin battled back to win four of the next five games and claim the match, 6-2, 7-5.
“I just told myself that I’d stick to my match plan and just see how it goes,” Jodoin said. “She played some good points, but I just hung in there, and then when I got the chance, I grabbed it.”
Jodoin’s win Friday was her ninth in a row, and she improved to 6-0 in the fifth singles spot this season. Her continued success, though, is something she attributes to her environment.
“I have the chance to practice against the best players in the country,” Jodoin said. “So obviously that helps a lot. Just having that exposure to the kind of players we have on the team has helped me be able to do what I’ve been able to do on the court.”
In other singles play, junior Rachel Kahan topped Salonen 4-6, 6-4, 1-0 (10-5) at fourth singles. No. 114 Smith manufactured a 6-4, 7-6 (10-8) win against Lexi Borr at third singles and Mulholland rallied against Sweeting before ultimately falling 4-6, 6-4, 3-10 at sixth singles.
Despite the lopsided final scoreline, the Eagles gave Duke plenty to handle Friday.
“They’re right on the edge of being really, really good. They’ve got a lot of good singles players,” Ashworth said. “They’re definitely one of the tougher teams we’ve played.”
Still, things will only get more difficult for Duke, as it concludes the regular season next week with a road trip against two top ACC squads in Georgia Tech and Clemson. Maintaining the win streak will require good play from more than just the senior Blue Devils.
“That’s a tough trip—playing at Clemson is one of the toughest places in the country to play,” Ashworth said. “We need to be firing on all cylinders for that match.”