LUBBOCK, Texas – No. 17 Texas Tech went toe to toe with one of the nation’s elite tennis programs, but came up just short, as No. 15 Duke edged the Lady Raiders, 4-3, in the second round of the NCAA Championships Sunday at the McLeod Tennis Center.
Duke will now face No. 1 Florida on Friday at 10 a.m. at the Khan Outdoor Tennis Complex on the Campus of the University of Illinois in the Round of 16.
For just this third time this season, Texas Tech started the day by losing the doubles point. It came in an odd way. Duke, who was playing with just five players due to several injuries, forfeited No. 3 doubles.
The Blue Devil tandem of Hanna Mar and Mary Clayton jumped on Texas Tech’s No. 16 team of Samantha Adams and Kenna Kilgo, got separation and picked up an 8-4 win at No. 1.
Texas Tech’s No. 2 squad of Nikki Sanders and Rashmi Teltumbde saw a 2-2 tie turn into an early deficit that they could never climb out of, as Marianne Jodoin and Annie Mulholland picked up the 8-4 win for Duke and the first point of the day.
Texas Tech then added a quick point of its own in singles, as Duke forfeited its match at No.6 singles to Caroline Starck. Starck closed out her Texas Tech as the winningest player in the modern era with 96 career singles wins.
With the score tied 1-1, Nikki Sanders put Tech in front, 2-1, with a fast-paced 6-0, 6-1 win over Nicole Lipp at No. 5. It was Sanders 73rd career win, including a perfect 27-0 mark in matches played in Lubbock.
Duke evened the score, 2-2, after Mulholland held off a late rally by Kilgo at No. 3, for a 6-3, 7-5 win.
Tech’s Teltumbde looked all but out at No. 2, as Duke’s No. 106 Mary Clayton took the first set, 6-3, but the Lady Raider junior, picked up the second set, 6-2 and then added the third, 6-4, and Texas Tech led, 3-2.
The Lady Raiders needed just one of the final two matches to make an historic run to Urbana and the Round of 16.
Texas Tech’s No. 80 Samantha Adams opened up her match with No. 29 Hanna Mar like no other match all year. She jumped out to a 5-2 lead in the first, only to watch Mar take the next two games and pull within one, 5-4, but Adams served fir the victory in the first set.
Adams hung tight with Mar early in both the second and third sets, only to watch Mar pull away for the eventual, 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 win at No. 1, tying the match, 3-3, with one match left.
Texas Tech’s Elizabeth Ullathorne and Duke’s Jodoin were locked in a battle. The first set was long and drawn out, point for point, but in the end, Ullathorne survived for an amazing 7-6 (7-4) victory in the first stanza. Jodoin immediately chimed back with a 6-2 win in the second, sending the third match of the day to the third set and fittingly the last match on.
First it was 1-1 and then 2-2, but then Jodoin got a break and held on for the win for the Blue Devils, as she won, 6-7 (4-7), 6-2, 6-3.
Texas Tech closes out the season 20-6 on the season, equaling the most wins in program history. The three seniors, Starck, Ullathorne and Sandra Dynka close out their careers as the winningest players in program history.
Texas Tech will now send the doubles tandem of Adams and Kilgo to the NCAA Doubles Championships which begin play on May 22 in Urbana, Ill., on the campus of the University of Illinois.