BLACKSBURG, Va. – The Blue Devils had several chances to turn the match around but could not make the momentum swing as they were defeated at Virginia Tech 5-2 on Sunday in Blacksburg, Va.
The match featured two teams ranked next to each other in the ITA team rankings with Duke at No. 25 and Virginia Tech right after at No. 26. The closeness of the two teams showed as several singles matches were tight finishes.
The Hokies started off strong by taking the doubles point and then claiming two quick straight set wins at the No. 4 and 6 spots in the singles order. Despite being down 3-0, the Blue Devils showed their fight in the final four matches.
Dylan Arnould and Luke Marchese each came up with victories to cut the lead to 3-2. Arnould claimed a 6-2, 7-5 win over Pedro Graber at the No. 2 spot. Arnould is 3-0 when playing at the No. 2 position and improved to 19-11 overall and 7-2 in the ACC. Marchese downed Brandon Corace 7-5, 6-4 for his 16th win of the year. He is 8-1 in conference play and has won 12 of his last 13 matches.
At the No. 3 position, the Hokies’ Luka Somen won the first set 6-4 but trailed Jared Pinsky 5-3 in the second. Somen eventually would come back to force a tiebreaker and close out the straight set win to clinch the match for Virginia Tech. The No. 1 match also came down to the wire. Nicolas Delgado and Kiril Dimitrov split the first two sets and then battled to a third set tiebreaker. Delgado edged Dimitrov in the tiebreaker 9-7 to make the final score 5-2.
Duke will conclude the regular season with two road matches next weekend. They will face Georgia Tech at 5 p.m. on Friday and then travel to Clemson, S.C. for a 1 p.m. contest on Sunday against the Tigers.