EVANSTON, Ill. -- No. 14 Northwestern fought hard, but ultimately came up short in a 4-0 dual loss to No. 3 Duke Sunday at Combe Tennis Center. The Blue Devils pulled out a closely contested doubles point, and earned three decisive singles results before the three tight matches remaining on court could be decided.
Service breaks were the theme early, as each doubles match went back and forth in the opening games. At No. 1, Linda Abu Mushrefova and Nida Hamilton traded breaks with Mary Clayton and Ester Goldfield to tie the match at 4, before the visitors distanced themselves for an 8-4 win. Veronica Corning and Alicia Barnett broke Annie Mulholland and Marianne Jodoin at No. 2 to tie the match at 5-all, and then again to tie it at 6-all. However, the NU duo could not counter the Blue Devil's final break, as Duke closed out an 8-6 win to clinch the doubles point. Kate Turvy and Belinda Niu had just entered a tiebreak - after tying 7-7 - when the match was abandoned.
Duke rode their momentum into singles play, as Brittany Wowchuk was the only Wildcat to capture her opening set. Monica Turewicz was the first to post a win for the Blue Devils, overcoming Linda Abu Mushrefova at No. 5, 6-3, 6-1. Alicia Barnett was not able to gain a foothold in her match at No. 6, falling by an identical score to Marianne Jodoin.
Belinda Niu had trouble establishing a rhythm against Ester Goldfield, falling 6-0, 6-2 at No. 3, which clinched the 4-0 win for the Blue Devils.
However, the Wildcats were still fighting in three remaining matches before they were abandoned. No. 67 Kate Turvy fought hard in a back-and-forth first set against No. 10 Hanna Mar at No. 1, dropping a tiebreaker and briefly opening the second set before play was suspended. At No. 2, Veronica Corning was up 5-4 in the second set when the match was stopped, and Brittany Wowchuk was on serve in the second set after taking the opener in her No. 4 match.
The Wildcats travel to Charlottesville, Virginia to compete in the ITA Indoor Team Championships Main Draw from February 8-11. The `Cats return to Combe Tennis Center to welcome the No. 18 Notre Dame Fighting Irish on Sunday, February 17, with action getting underway at 2 p.m.
Duke 4, Northwestern 0
1. Clayton/Mar (DUKE) def. No. 42 Abu Mushrefova/Hamilton (NU) 8-4
2. Mulholland/Jodoin (DUKE) def. Corning/Barnett (NU) 8-6
3. Niu/Turvy (NU) unfinished Mar/Turewicz (DUKE) 7-7
Order of finish:1, 2*
1. No. 67 Kate Turvy (NU) unfinished No. 10 Hanna Mar (DUKE) 6-7 (0), 0-1
2. Veronica Corning (NU) unfinished No. 53 Mary Clayton (DUKE) 4-6, 5-4
3. No. 40 Ester Goldfield (DUKE) def. Belinda Niu (NU) 6-0, 6-2
4. Brittany Wowchuk (NU) unfinished Annie Mulholland (DUKE) 6-4, 2-3
5. Monica Turewicz (DUKE) def. Linda Abu Mushrefova (NU) 6-3, 6-1
6. No. 63 Marianne Jodoin (DUKE) def. Alicia Barnett (NU) 6-3, 6-1
Order of finish:5, 6, 3*