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Duke women's tennis finishes 2-1 at ITA National Indoor Championships

<p>Duke junior Alyssa Smith teamed with classmate Chalena Scholl to knock off their Vanderbilt counterparts in doubles action Friday, but it did not prevent the Commodores from capturing the doubles point.</p>

Duke junior Alyssa Smith teamed with classmate Chalena Scholl to knock off their Vanderbilt counterparts in doubles action Friday, but it did not prevent the Commodores from capturing the doubles point.

After an early setback, Duke rallied to post one of its most impressive performances of the young season.

The No. 14 Blue Devils went 2-1 on the weekend at the ITA Women’s National Team Indoor Championship in Madison, Wis. The team suffered its first loss of the season Friday in a matchup against No. 1 Vanderbilt, losing 4-0, but Duke bounced back to sweep both Fresno State Saturday and No. 9 Texas A&M Sunday in consolation play. 

“After losing a tough match to Vanderbilt, we talked about not feeling sorry for ourselves, coming out the next day and being ready to play,” Duke head coach Jamie Ashworth told GoDuke.com. “I thought that we got better as the weekend went on. We have to get better when we’re playing three straight days in a tournament situation like this.”

In its upset bid against the defending national champions, Duke (6-1) took the Commodores (5-1) to the third doubles match to decide the opening point. After senior Beatrice Capra and freshman Ellyse Hamlin fell to Vanderbilt’s Courtney Colton and Sydney Campbell 1-6, Blue Devil juniors Alyssa Smith and Chalena Scholl downed the Commodores’ Frances Altick and Georgina Sellyn 6-1 to even things up. But in a tight, back-and-forth affair, Duke’s Kaitlyn McCarthy and Samantha Harris fell 6-7 to the Vanderbilt tandem of Astra Sharma and Ellie Yates.

Duke could not regain momentum in singles when its two best players took early losses that doomed the team’s hopes. McCarthy lost for just the third time all season to Sharma 4-6, 2-6, and Capra could not do any better as Campbell won their match 6-3, 6-1. Harris’ 4-6, 4-6 loss to Colton iced the decision for Vanderbilt.

Duke rebounded quickly just a day later in the win against Fresno State (3-3). McCarthy and Harris posted a 6-0 shutout of Sophie Watts and Anneka Watts in doubles, and Capra and Hamlin also got a 6-4 win against the Bulldogs’ Mayar Sherif Ahmed and Rana Sherif Ahmed. The Blue Devils then received dominant singles performances from Scholl, Harris and McCarthy, who lost only eight combined games en route to three straight-set victories to clinch the win.

Sunday provided more of the same against the Aggies (4-3). Scholl and Smith beat Texas A&M’s Domenica Gonzalez and Saska Gavrilovska 6-1, and McCarthy and Harris won 6-4 against Rutuja Bhosale and Anna Mamalat to secure the doubles point. For the second day in a row, Duke won three consecutive singles matches in straight sets to secure the win, this one an upset against the higher-ranked Aggies.

Scholl beat Bhosale 6-1, 6-3 to open the singles finishes, and then McCarthy won for the 19th time this season in a 6-3, 6-0 victory against Rachel Pierson. Harris defeated Eva Paalma 6-2, 6-4 to bring the match to an end.

The Blue Devils now have a two-week break before hosting Texas Feb. 21 at noon.

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