Duke did not make it out of the regional stage of the NCAA team championship for the first time since 2007 but still had hope for a lengthy tournament run with senior Ester Goldfeld's at-large bid into the NCAA singles tournament.
Those hopes perished Wednesday afternoon.
Goldfeld's college career came to an end with a 1-6, 6-2, 6-2 defeat against Alabama's Erin Routliffe in the opening round at the Hurd Tennis Center in Waco, Texas. The senior could not take advantage of a strong start to close out the match as the Crimson Tide sophomore got revenge for a Feb. 8 loss against Duke's lone tournament invitee.
Ranked 39th nationally in the country, Goldfeld jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead in the first set thanks to an early break. Routliffe narrowed the gap by holding serve in the next game, but Goldfeld maintained her rhythm and won the next four games to claim the first set.
From there, it went downhill for the senior.
The Brooklyn, N.Y., native held serve in the first game of the second set but suddenly began to lose control of the match as No. 34 Routliffe captured the next three games. After Goldfeld briefly regained some momentum by breaking serve, Routliffe won three more consecutive games to even the match at a set apiece.
In the decisive third set, Routliffe raced out to a 4-0 advantage before Goldfeld captured her first game. She narrowed the deficit to 5-2, but Routliffe served out the match to advance to Thursday's second round.
Goldfeld finishes her Duke career with 104 singles wins, eclipsing the century mark March 22 with a victory against Virginia. The departure of the four-year All-ACC will leave head coach Jamie Ashworth looking to replace one of most consistent and reliable players. The senior finished this season with a 25-15 record, the third time she has captured 25 or more wins.