The No. 3 ranked Blue Devils took on Wyoming for the championship match of the ITA Kickoff Weekend. In just two hours, Duke managed to down the Cowgirls in an easy 4-0 victory, securing a berth in the ITA National Team Indoor Tournament in Charlottesville, Va.
After play was delayed by two hours, the girls were anxious to get started.
Although the doubles pair of senior Mary Clayton and sophomore Ester Goldfeld struggled during their match, courts two and three made quick work of their opponents, with the team of Annie Mulholland and Marianne Jodoin winning in just 27 minutes. A swinging backhand volley by Mulholland won the match for the girls 8-0.
Close by, junior Hanna Mar and sophomore Monica Turewicz were swinging fluently, as a potent down-the-line backhand by Turewicz secured an early 3-0 lead. The two sustained their momentum for a quick 8-0 victory.
“We try to have fun out there,” Turewicz said. “When we have fun we’re looser and play better and we support each other really well.”
The crowd was cheering hard for the Clayton-Goldfeld team to make a comeback but they could not hold off Veronica Popovici and Simona Synkova, ranked No. 38 in the nation by the ITA. The pair got down 4-0 and could not turn it around with not-so-strong net play and numerous unforced errors. Play was discontinued with Wyoming leading 5-1 because Duke had already secured the doubles point.
Turewicz’s energy carried over into her singles match, where she fed off fervent support of the men’s team to lead her to a handed victory against Wyoming’s Jessica Parizher, 6-3, 6-1.
Singles play was highlighted by Clayton who, in a 6-4, 6-0 win, secured her 100th singles victory, becoming the 21st Blue Devil to have that many wins, just behind all-time record holder Vanessa Webb in 1999.
“It’s a great accomplishment,” Clayton said. “For senior year, it’s nice to have something to show for it.”
Both teammates and coaches are all extremely proud of Clayton’s accomplishment, especially after she missed the first semester of her freshman year at Duke.
“I think it’s a really great accomplishment and as a senior she can just leave with that and knowing that we’ll always be her teammates,” Turewicz said.
Clayton came out with consistency in mind, being sure to take one point at a time, winning a lot of points at the net. She broke serve at 3-2 with a strategic backhand cross-court approach shot to lead Synkova 4-2 in the first set. It was all down-hill from there, as Clayton cruised to a 6-0 second set win.
“One of our goals this weekend was to create a lot of internal energy among our team,” head coach Jamie Ashworth said. “We have to be able to feed off of each other especially as we prepare for other matches.”
The team also announced this weekend that sophomore Beatrice Capra has been dismissed from the University for a violation of school policy. She will be eligible to return to Duke in the Fall of 2013. The reason for her dismissal was not disclosed.
“As you can imagine, this is an unfortunate event for Beatrice and our entire team,” Ashworth said in a press release.