Throughout the spring, the Blue Devils have leaned on senior Chalena Scholl and sophomore Kaitlyn McCarthy to pull out hotly-contested matchups.

But Saturday's ACC tournament loss to Georgia Tech was another reminder that Duke will likely need more consistent production from its other players to make a deep postseason run.

The second-seeded Blue Devils fell 4-2 to the No. 3 seed Yellow Jackets at the Rome Tennis Center at Berry College in Rome, Ga., in the ACC tournament semifinals. Although Scholl and McCarthy won their singles matches to give Duke a 2-1 advantage after Georgia Tech seized the doubles point, the rest of the Blue Devils struggled to find their footing, combining to win just two sets on the remaining four courts.

Head coach Jamie Ashworth's team will now enter the NCAA tournament 0-5 against top-15 opponents away from home this season.

"We definitely gave ourselves some opportunities and some third sets, but they played the bigger pressure points better," Ashworth told GoDuke.com. "It was disappointing, but we’ll learn from it and be ready to go again in two weeks."

No. 12 Duke (20-5) was hoping to get off to a better start than it did Sunday in its regular-season finale against the Yellow Jackets. Although the Blue Devils managed to pull off the home upset in Durham after dropping the doubles point, the winner of Saturday's first point would be in the driver's seat in a matchup of two evenly-matched foes in singles playing at a neutral site.

But Duke came out flat in doubles for the second straight day. After pushing past seventh-seeded Clemson in doubles Friday despite a slow start, the Blue Devils were not able to recover after getting down a break on all three courts a day later.

With junior Samantha Harris nursing a tweaked ankle, Ashworth elected to substitute junior Rebecca Smaller to play alongside sophomore Ellyse Hamlin on Court 3. However, the pair was unable to bounce back following a Friday loss, falling 6-3 to put more pressure on their teammates at No. 1 and No. 2 doubles.

The eighth-ranked Yellow Jackets (25-3) refused to give Duke life, with the No. 23 tandem of Rasheeda McAdoo and Johnnise Renaud pushing past seniors Scholl and Alyssa Smith 6-3 to seal the match's first point. McCarthy and freshman Meible Chi were trailing 4-2 when doubles ended, as the Blue Devils' inconsistency playing in pairs continued.

"We just didn’t get off to a good start. They were able to capitalize on the momentum from the doubles and they played well," Ashworth said. "[But] after the doubles it was the same thing as a week ago—I thought we could come out and win four singles matches."

No. 53 Scholl and 99th-ranked McCarthy quickly got Duke halfway there, as Scholl easily dispatched 84th-ranked Paige Hourigan 7-5, 6-0 at No. 3 singles and McCarthy beat Kenya Jones 6-3, 6-3 on Court 4. McCarthy has not lost in singles since Feb. 10, and Scholl fell to an ACC opponent just once in 2017, which should give the Blue Devils confidence moving forward as they try to make it past the NCAA tournament Round of 32 for the first time since 2014.

But for Duke to accomplish that goal, Chi and Harris will have to be more consistent on the top two singles courts.

After her semifinal run at the ITA national indoor championships last fall, No. 40 Chi has been extremely inconsistent on Court 2 in the spring. Her 6-1, 6-4 loss to 58th-ranked Renaud evened Saturday's match and dropped the freshman to 2-5 in her last seven matches that have gone to completion. After starting the spring ranked 14th nationally, the Weston, Fla., native has seen her ranking steadily fall.

No. 76 Harris has not fared much better late in the season. The Melbourne, Australia, native dropped a 7-5, 6-2 decision to 50th-ranked McAdoo on Court 1 to give Georgia Tech a 3-2 lead and fell to 2-7 in her last nine matchups. Harris has been battling injuries late in the season, and Ashworth said a Tuesday ankle tweak was the reason he sat her in doubles.

"We just weren’t going to take any chances with long-term health and with the NCAA tournament still ahead of us," he said. "She’ll be fine in a couple of days."

After Smith and Hamlin captured second sets on Courts 5 and 6 to force deciding third sets, it looked like Duke might have a chance at pulling off another comeback. 

But Hamlin was not able to knock off Luca Fabian for the second time this week, with Fabian steadying the ship late for a match-clinching 6-3, 0-6, 6-2 victory as the Yellow Jackets' strength on the lower courts prevailed. 

When the match was called, Smith trailed Nami Otuska 7-5, 4-6, 4-1 and also looked to be on her way to defeat. The senior heads into the Big Dance 1-7 in singles against top-25 teams this year. 

The Blue Devils will find out their NCAA tournament fate Tuesday evening before opening competition in two weeks. Duke should be in line for a top-16 seed, which would mean hosting the first two rounds yet again, but knows it will need more from its supporting cast to avoid an early-round upset. 

"We weren’t as healthy as we’ve been all year. That part was out of our control," Ashworth said. "Our number one goal now is getting healthy and putting ourselves in a position to have a good run."