This weekend, Duke’s goal of finishing the regular season perfect in ACC play came to fruition.
The No. 3 Blue Devils (22-2, 11-0 in the ACC) captured the conference regular season title, shutting out Boston College (10-12, 3-8) 7-0 Saturday and defeating Maryland (7-14, 1-10) 6-1 Sunday.
“We set a goal at the beginning of our conference season of being 11-0, and this was the final step in that,” Duke head coach Jamie Ashworth said. “We talked about finishing what we started six weeks ago.”
After winning all three doubles matches against the Eagles, the Blue Devils took a 1-0 lead. “We came out and dominated the doubles really quickly,” Ashworth said. “We were worried after the UNC match on Thursday what kind of effort and attitude we would have on the court. But we came out fired up in the doubles, played with a lot of emotion and were able to win the matches quickly.”
Duke carried the momentum from its doubles sweep into singles play, where junior Mary Clayton, ranked No. 71 nationally, notched her team-leading 29th victory of the season in a 6-1, 6-3 win over senior Katarina Gajic in the No. 3 spot. Blue Devil freshman Annie Mulholland upended Boston College junior Ina Kauppila 6-1, 6-3 in the No. 6 spot before freshman Monica Turewicz clinched the match for Duke with a 6-4, 6-1 win over Kelly Barry in the No. 5 spot. Second-ranked freshman Beatrice Capra, 91st-ranked freshman Ester Goldfeld and 51st-ranked sophomore Hanna Mar took down senior Erina Kikuchi, freshman Jessica Wacnik and junior Olga Khmylev to complete the shutout.
Exactly 24 hours later, the Blue Devils were back on the court to take on the Terrapins. Clayton and senior Monica Gorny kicked off doubles play with an 8-1 victory over Jordan Hansbrough and Mikele Irazusta in the No. 3 spot. The 28th-ranked duo of Capra and sophomore Rachel Kahan quickly followed suit, upsetting the 26th-ranked tandem of Welma Luus and Ana Belzunce 8-1 in the No. 1 spot to secure the doubles point for Duke. The Blue Devils could not complete the sweep, as Mulholland and Mar fell to Cristina Stancu and Vroni Van Berlo 8-4.
In singles play, Turewicz was the first off the court with a 6-0, 2-1 win over Irazusta, who retired in the second set in the No. 5 spot. Kahan and Clayton followed with victories over Van Berlo and Luus in the No. 3 and No. 4 spots, respectively, to win the match for Duke. Capra outlasted 28th-ranked Stancu 7-6 in a hotly contested first set in the No. 1 spot before dominating 6-2 in the second. The Terrapins picked up their only point of the day when Belzunce beat Goldfeld in straight sets, 7-5, 6-3.
“Today was just a culmination of the effort [the team] put in practice and in the matches, and we wanted to end the season with an exclamation point,” Ashworth said. “Obviously it’s been a great regular season for us, but now we’ve got to put that behind us. The next step is the [ACC] tournament.”
The Blue Devils will enter the ACC tournament as the No. 1 seed and will face the winner of No. 8 seed Boston College and No. 9 seed N.C. State in the second round next weekend in Cary, N.C.