No. 3 Duke Takes Down No. 7 California, 4-1
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - Sunday's semifinal matchup at the ITA National Women's Team Indoor Championships pitted third-ranked and top-seeded Duke against seventh-ranked and fifth-seeded California in a matchup of the nation's only two teams comprised of six ranked singles players. The Blue Devils surged past the Golden Bears, 4-1, and advanced to Monday's championship match.
"We played really well today," said head coach Jamie Ashworth. "We see the strength of the Pac-12 with three teams here in the semifinals. In talking to people who had played Cal, they said that Cal was the best team out of all the Pac-12 teams. It was huge to get the doubles point against them. We knew they were going to come out aggressive and hit balls right at us. We did a good job of taking that away from them though."
Freshman Beatrice Capra and sophomore Rachel Kahan ran their doubles record to 8-0 on the season with an 8-3 win over Annie Goransson and Anett Schutting in the No. 2 spot, while sophomore Hanna Mar and freshman Annie Mulholland outlasted Tarler Davis and Cecilia Estlander, 8-4, to clinch the doubles point. Duke (8-0) has won the doubles point in each match thus far in 2012.
Combined, both teams possess 12 ranked singles players, and the two squads put 11 of them up against one another Sunday afternoon. Freshman and 35th-ranked Monica Turewicz picked up the first singles win for the Blue Devils in the No. 6 spot, defeating 64th-ranked Estlander, 6-2, 6-3. The Lake Forest, Ill. native is now 13-0 overall, 3-0 in dual singles and 5-0 against nationally-ranked opponents.
Kahan, ranked 118th, cruised past 81st-ranked Goransson, 6-0, 6-2, in the No. 4 spot to give Duke a 3-0 advantage. The Golden Bears would respond however, as 21st-ranked Zsofi Susanyi downed 38th-ranked Mar, 6-2, 6-1, to keep California in the match.
Shortly after, junior and 66th-ranked Mary Clayton clinched the match for Duke, taking down 74th-ranked Schutting, 7-5, 6-0, at the No. 5 spot. With the victory, Clayton picked up her team-leading seventh dual singles win this season.
"I thought we competed very well today," Ashworth stated. "We are getting better every day, and hopefully we will come out and play our best tomorrow."
Duke will meet either fourth-ranked UCLA or 16th-ranked Southern California in Monday's championship match at 11 a.m. The Blue Devils will compete for their first ITA National Team Indoor title since winning the crown in 2003. Live scoring will be available.