Sweep of Northwestern and ACC foes, Beck's 100th singles win highlight weekend for No. 10 Duke women's tennis

Senior Chloe Beck earned her 100th-career singles victory over the weekend.
Senior Chloe Beck earned her 100th-career singles victory over the weekend.

Rolling with the punches this week, No. 10 Duke proved its ability to adapt and overcome burgeoning challenges from its opponents. Only dropping one singles match, the Blue Devils wrapped up nonconference play with a 7-0 sweep of Northwestern before beating Syracuse 6-1 and finishing the weekend with another 7-0 sweep of Boston College. 

In the last nonconference match of the regular season, the Blue Devils (18-2, 7-1 in the ACC) struggled in the opening doubles matches as Northwestern (5-10) established leads on all three courts. To adapt to the aggressive nature of Northwestern’s net play, senior Chloe Beck and graduate Cameron Morra switched up their typical strategy and allowed Morra to sit back on the baseline while Beck approached the net. 

“It’s just trying to put us where we felt like we’re the strongest. We were down in that match and so it’s trying to put Cameron in a place where she feels more comfortable,” head coach Jamie Ashworth said Wednesday. “It’s something we practice all the time. When they want to do it and when they use it, we leave it up to them a bit.”

The shift in strategy worked as Beck and Morra won three straight games which had reached 40-40 before clinching the doubles point for the Blue Devils with a 6-4 win. 

Sophomore Ellie Coleman secured the sweep of the Wildcats after forcing her singles match against Brianna Crowley into two tiebreaks. She came back by winning five straight games to tie it at 5-5, but eventually dropped the set 7-5. After opening the second set 3-1, Coleman's lead disappeared as it went to 6-6. While never trailing, the sophomore won the tiebreak 7-3 and forced the match into a third set. Coleman again never trailed in the third-set tiebreaker, securing the sweep of the Wildcats with a 12-10 win.

The Blue Devils next headed on their final road trip of the regular season, one that took them into a difficult road match. 

“Different courts have different speeds, and it's easier to go from faster to slower courts, but our courts at Duke are fairly slow,” Ashworth said of Syracuse’s courts at Drumlins Country Club. “On faster courts, you have less time to prepare on the ball — you just have to take time to practice, hit balls, and prepare.” 

Despite the difficult conditions, the Blue Devils only dropped one match overall, and they have now won 42 straight matches in which they win the doubles point. 

Overcoming the court conditions against Syracuse (11-5, 4-5), Beck collected her 100th-career singles win at Duke, making her the 29th Blue Devil to reach the milestone.

“It’s a bit crazy to think that I’ve even played 100 matches at Duke,” Beck said Sunday. 

Beck, unfazed by the accomplishment, was shocked that this milestone had come already. After her 2019-20 rookie season was cut short by COVID-19, the timeline becomes even more impressive.

“It’s a big deal. She did it in basically three-and-a-half years and at the level she’s been playing at too,” Ashworth said. “She doesn’t care about stuff like that, but it’s something that years down the road she can look back on and be really proud of that accomplishment.” 

The Blue Devils ended the weekend with another sweep of Boston College (9-8, 2-7). Wrapping up its last road trip of the season, Duke extended its winning streak to seven. 

Duke hosts Miami and Florida State this Friday and Saturday, respectively, as it heads into the final stretch of the regular season.


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