No. 23 Duke women's tennis earns 2 hard-fought wins on the weekend against Wake Forest and No. 14 NC State

Katie Codd earned two crucial singles wins for Duke this weekend.
Katie Codd earned two crucial singles wins for Duke this weekend.

The 23rd-ranked Blue Devils collected two momentum-building wins this weekend as they defeated No. 31 Wake Forest and No. 14 N.C. State. Despite dropping the doubles point in both matches, Duke rallied to defeat the Demon Deacons 4-1 and the Wolfpack 4-3. Sophomore Katie Codd broke the 3-3 tie to clinch the victory in the latter match, winning in a 7-6, 7-5 nail-biter. 

“You’re going to have adversity when you play matches, and it's how you handle yourself in those situations,” head coach Jamie Ashworth said. “Today is a good growing point for us to realize that if we handle ourselves the right way, we’ll put ourselves in good positions. We have to ensure this is not our season's highlight. We have to keep improving and keep getting better and keep pushing ourselves."

On Friday, Duke (12-5, 5-3 in the ACC) opened the weekend with a 4-1 win against Wake Forest, despite dropping the doubles point. However, the Blue Devils were able to swing the momentum after the match was moved indoors due to inclement weather. The singles rounds began with the team winning the first set in five out of six of the matches. With her 6-3, 6-3 win against Marcella Cruz, graduate student Iuliia Bryzgalova moved herself within one victory of 100 in her collegiate career. 

Codd's 7-5, 6-1 singles win against Nevena Carton Friday gave Duke the victory against the Demon Deacons, leading to the rest of the matches being left unfinished. Her clinch on Sunday came with more flair, however, as the match against N.C. State was left tied 3-3 with everything coming down to Codd on court 4. 

With defeats of Karolina Berankova and Emma Jackson, the doubles point loss was coming back to haunt the Blue Devils on Sunday as the Wolfpack were on the cusp of clinching with a 3-2 lead. The two singles wins from freshman Shavit Kimchi and Bryzgalova cut the deficit. 

After winning the first set 7-5, graduate student Brianna Shvets on court 5 trailed in the second set 4-5 before winning in a tiebreaker and tying the match 3-3 overall. 

It all came down to Katie Codd on court 4 as she battled for the upset.

Having won the first set in a tiebreaker, Codd had to battle even harder in the second set as N.C. State’s Gina Dittmann established a 2-0 lead. The California native was able to tie the set at 4-4 before battling to an eventual 7-5 win and a victory for the Blue Devils. 

“You could see the growth and development in that match to what she’s done all spring,” Ashworth said about Codd’s fortitude. “She’s never been in that situation before when a match rides on her performance … I couldn’t be prouder of the effort that she put in there.” 

With the clinching win, it marked the third time this season that Codd has been able to provide the Blue Devils with the clinching point, but the first tie-breaking win. 

“I was feeding off the energy of my teammates screaming for me, and seeing my teammates around me really gave me motivation,” Codd said. “It was unreal. It was so cool to be able to punch it like that.” 

The weekend wasn’t all smooth sailing, though. 

In both of the matches this weekend, Duke dropped the doubles point but was able to claw its way back to a win. This has become a theme as the Blue Devils have continued to struggle with doubles this season. 

“We’re giving away too many free points, it’s just been kind of a trend,” Ashworth said. “We just gotta clean that up. It was the same at Wake Forest and then the same today.” 

Ashworth did express the mental fortitude and strength that the team showed this weekend saying that “mentally we were the best that we’ve been all year.” 

Duke will need all the mental fortitude and momentum it can get next weekend as it faces off against North Carolina Saturday at home. 

“Yes, it’s UNC. And yes, it's a big match. But every match we play is a big match,” Ashworth said.  


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