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Coleman shines as Duke women's tennis sweeps back-to-back against Miami, Florida State

Duke sophomore Ellie Coleman in Saturday's win against Florida State.
Duke sophomore Ellie Coleman in Saturday's win against Florida State.

Tired and sore, the Blue Devils continued to demonstrate their fortitude against hurricanes this weekend. Sheltered in Ambler Tennis Stadium and Sheffield Indoor Tennis Center to begin their last homestand of the season, No. 8 Duke was never fazed by the bumps in the road, pulling together to defeat No. 11 Miami 4-3 Friday and Florida State 6-1 Saturday in two key ACC matchups.

“Every team is tired. Every team has played a lot. But that’s what separates good teams from great teams, and how they handle situations like this,” head coach Jamie Ashworth said of Duke’s durability. “I’m proud of what we did this weekend and I’m proud of what we’re doing.”

While doubles has been a relative point of weakness for the Blue Devils (20-2, 9-1 in the ACC), they came out blazing over the weekend, dominating the doubles point both Friday and Saturday. The team expanded its winning streak to 45 matches when securing the doubles point. 

“Our doubles was unbelievable,” Ashworth said. “Our doubles the last couple of matches have been really good. We’ve gotten good starts on doubles.” 

However, winning the doubles point does not mean the match is won, as Miami (11-5, 6-2) mounted a singles challenge. The Hurricanes leveled the score quickly during singles Friday afternoon, tying the match 3-3 with defeats of senior Chloe Beck, sophomore Emma Jackson and graduate student Brianna Shvets.

“Miami is not a team that’s going to go away after doubles. That’s just the kind of team they are,” said Ashworth.

Sophomore Ellie Coleman stopped the singles slide for Duke, as she clinched the match with a win on court five. 

After losing the first set to Miami’s Mia Mack 6-4, Coleman won the second set 6-3 to send the match to a third set. With the overall match tied 3-3 and the results of Coleman's duel being the deciding factor, a full third set was played as opposed to a 10-point tiebreaker. Never looking back, Coleman dominated her opponent 6-1, edging out the win for the Blue Devils. 

“It’s been good to see. She’s been working hard. Hopefully, she can keep it going and keep building on what she’s done,” Ashworth said of Coleman’s performance over the weekend.

Coleman continued to shine Saturday. The sophomore had big shoes to fill as she replaced Beck as graduate student Cameron Morra’s doubles partner against the Seminoles (10-9, 3-6). Coleman and Morra lived up to the moment, sailing past their opponents 6-2 and collecting their first win as a duo.

“Those are the moments we play for,” Coleman said of her role in Friday’s win. “That’s why we put in all the hard work and it was a great opportunity for me to be the one out there.” 

After snapping her 21-match winning streak Friday against Alexa Noel, Beck was held out of both the singles and doubles lineup Saturday. 

“She needed a day off,” Ashworth said. “We have people that can play. We’re gonna fight and compete the same way.”

The challenges of the schedule continued Saturday, as Morra retired from her singles match after the first set. That accounted for Duke’s only loss against Florida State.

“She was a little sick this morning, but I was proud of her effort and keeping that girl on the court. She didn’t just come out and roll over,” Ashworth said. 

Morra was still able to push the first and only set of the match to a tiebreak, winning 7-6 (4) before forfeiting during the set break. 

“It’s always a challenge that we present to our team when we play back-to-back matches, ‘Can you be better on day two than on day one,’ because you’re gonna have to be if it’s the ACC tournament,” Ashworth said. “... They definitely rose to that challenge today.” 

The Blue Devils continue to fight against the schedule as they head into three last matches before gearing up for ACC tournament play later this month. First up is a Thursday matchup against Wake Forest in Durham.


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