After a slow start to the season in their first two tournaments, the Blue Devils picked up their first title of the fall.
Sophomore Beatrice Capra defeated Hayley Carter of North Carolina to win the singles championships at the ITA Carolina Regional. After dropping the first set of the final, Capra stormed back to take a tight 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 win.
Capra’s victory marked the second straight win for the Blue Devils at this event, as senior Hanna Mar took home the title last year.
“Any time one of our players can win this event it’s a good thing,” head coach Jamie Ashworth said. “It’s a good statement for our team. You have a lot of teams from the conference that we’ll see later in the year so it helps our team tremendously to know we have the player who won the Regionals.”
Capra, along with seniors Mar and Marianne Jodoin, juniors Ester Goldfeld and Annie Mulholland and freshmen Alyssa Smith and Chalena Scholl, all participated at the tournament held at the Cone-Kenfield Tennis Center in Chapel Hill, N.C.
Coming into the singles final, Carter had lost just one match during the entire fall season. Down a set and trailing 3-1 in the second, Capra—ranked as the No. 27 singles player in the country in the ITA's preseason rankings—broke Carter and took control from there.
“After that, it showed that I wasn’t going anywhere and was going to fight for every single point,” Capra said. “I got the momentum back and was able to close it out.”
Although Capra was the standout performer of the tournament, a number of her Duke teammates also had successful weekends. Jodoin reached the quarterfinals of the singles draw and also made the final eight in the doubles draw, playing alongside Smith. Mulholland and Scholl were also able to play their way into the quarterfinals of doubles draw.
Jodoin, a senior from Canada, said that her team's success this weekend could be attributed to its commitment to preparation throughout the fall.
“Since the first tournament in Cary, I think as a team we’re really improving,” Jodoin said. “We’re working really hard every day. I think the coaches have done a really good job with that, and the results have shown that. They’re much better than what they were at the beginning of the season.”
With a packed month of November quickly approaching, Ashworth said he still sees room for the team to improve for the rest of its fall slate and heading into the spring.
One of the areas Ashworth will likely concentrate on will be in his team's doubles play. Capra and Mar entered the tournament as the top-seeded team, but fell to North Carolina's Laura Slater and Kate Vialle 8-7 in the Round of 16. Mulholland and Scholl fell 8-3 to Clemson's Beatrice Gumulya and Jessy Romples, the tournament's No. 3 seed. Tar Heels Carter and Jamie Loeb dispatched Jodoin and Smith with little difficulty, winning 8-1.
“We definitely had some good wins in singles. But as a whole, our doubles was still a little disappointing to not have any teams advance past the quarters," Ashworth said. "I think that’s something we need to work on. We’ve got to do a better job all around with our doubles play."
With a title under her belt and a number of challenges on the horizon, Capra's next step will be to build off of a successful weekend on the other end of Tobacco Road.
“I was so happy with not only the way I competed, but also the way all my teammates competed,” Capra said. “Hopefully we can build off of this. I’m really excited for the season because I think everyone is really determined to do well.”