Following two consecutive wins against ranked opponents, the Blue Devils found themselves on the wrong end of an upset this weekend.
In its first ACC road contest of the season, No. 6 Duke fell to Virginia Tech by a score of 4-2 in Blacksburg, Va., at the Burrows-Burleson Tennis Center Sunday. The Blue Devils entered the day on a hot streak having won six straight matches, but the Hokies quickly put an end to their momentum.
Duke (10-2, 3-1 in the ACC) fell behind early on by losing the doubles point after opting to start different teams at the No. 1 and No. 2 spots. At No. 3 doubles, juniors Chalena Scholl and Alyssa Smith won their set against Elena Cerezo-Codina and Sansitha Nandakumar by a score of 6-2, but the two higher-seeded doubles pairs for the Blue Devils did not fare as well.
Sophomore Samantha Harris and freshman Ellyse Hamlin lost a tight match to Caroline Daxhelet and Raluca Mita by a score of 7-6 (7-3). Senior Beatrice Capra and freshman Jessica Ho also fell in their doubles match, and the tandem’s 2-6 loss to Francesca Fusinato and Kelly Williford secured the doubles point victory for Virginia Tech (10-4, 3-2).
With the doubles point decided in favor of the Hokies, Virginia Tech continued its strong start and secured the first singles point of the match with a win on court five. Mita defeated redshirt freshman Christina Makarova handily in a 6-1, 6-0 decision. The next match to be decided was on court one, where Scholl defeated Fusinato 6-3, 6-4. Scholl wrestled away the first set from the 49th-ranked player after a 3-3 start, and then did not trail for a point in the second set to secure the win and get the Blue Devils on the board.
Duke tied the match at 2-2 after a victory on court six by junior Alyssa Smith. The Laguna Niguel, Calif., native downed Nandakumar in straight sets 6-3, 6-4 to notch her eighth victory of the season.
However, the Hokies won all of the remaining matches Sunday afternoon with three more singles wins. On court two, Harris fell to Cerezo-Codina by a score of 7-6, 6-1 after leading in the first set 5-1. On court four, Williford defeated Ho in three sets to clinch the win for the Hokies. Williford dropped the first set, but jumped out to early leads—which Ho was unable to surmount—in the next two.
In a contest that then became meaningless to the end result of the match, Harris' match against Daxhelet in the third set down 4-0 to end individual match at 6-0, 6-7(7-4), 4-0.
Duke will have nearly two weeks to recover and practice before it returns to the courts for a match at Pittsburgh March 18. The match against the Panthers will provide the Blue Devils—who still have six remaining conference road matches—with the opportunity to prove to themselves that they are capable of beating quality ACC opponents away from their own courts.
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Jacob Weiss is a Trinity senior. His column, "not jumping to any conclusions," runs on alternate Fridays.