No. 1 Duke (11-1) vs. No. 55 Virginia Tech (9-4)
Saturday, March 8 | 12 p.m.
Blacksburg, Va. | Burrows-Burleson Tennis Center
No. 1 Duke (11-1) vs. No. 46 Wake Forest (8-3)
Sunday, March 9 | 12 p.m.
Winston-Salem, N.C. | Wake Forest Tennis Complex
DURHAM, N.C. – The top-ranked Duke women’s tennis team hits the road for the first back-to-back road conference matches of 2014. Duke travels to Blacksburg, Va., Saturday, March 8, facing No. 55 Virginia Tech (9-4) before returning to North Carolina to compete against No. 46 Wake Forest (8-3) in Winston-Salem on Sunday, March 9. Duke improved to 3-1 in conference play last weekend after defeating then No. 25 Notre Dame, 6-1, and then No. 11 North Carolina, 5-2.
Virginia Tech Series History
The Blue Devils lead the series against the Hokies, 18-1. Duke’s first and only loss to Virginia Tech came last year on April 25, 2013, when the Hokies upended the Blue Devils, 4-3, in the first round of the ACC Tournament. Prior to the loss, Duke remained unbeaten against Virginia Tech, with a 17-match winning streak dating back to March 20, 1979. Duke leads Virginia Tech by a combined team score of 128-16.
Scouting the Hokies
The Hokies enter Saturday’s contest following a 5-2 victory over No. 61 Maryland Saturday, March 2. Virginia Tech owns a 9-4 overall record, with a near-perfect 6-1 home ledger. In conference competition this season, the Hokies sit at 2-2 entering Saturday’s match, with victories over Pittsburgh and No. 61 Maryland and defeats by No. 15 Clemson and Syracuse. Virginia Tech’s Francesca Fusinato currently ranks 103rd in the nation, leading the Hokies with a 15-5 overall mark and a 9-3 record in dual matches this season. Fusinato posted seven wins over her last 10 matches.
Wake Forest Series History
The Blue Devils lead the series against the Demon Deacons, 55-4. Duke currently owns a six-match winning streak against Wake Forest, dating back to March 11, 2007. Over the six-match stretch, the Blue Devils have defeated the Demon Deacons by a 5-1 margin. The Duke vs. Wake Forest series opened with a Blue Devil 22-match win streak, which started in 1976 and ran until April 17, 1988.
Scouting the Demon Deacons
The Demon Deacons own an 8-3 overall record and a 1-3 conference mark this season, prior to Sunday’s contest, with their lone conference win coming in the form of a 4-3 victory over Pittsburgh. Wake Forest sits at an even 3-3 when facing ranked opponents in 2014, including victories over No. 70 Missouri, No. 44 VCU and No. 43 William & Mary. Karen Forman headlines the Demon Deacons in singles play, posting a 13-3 tally this season, and entering Sunday on a six-match win streak.
“Virginia Tech beat us in the first round of the ACC Tournament last year,” Duke women’s tennis head coach Jamie Ashworth said. “We actually talked about that a little bit yesterday. There are girls on that team that have experience beating us. We obviously have to be ready to play and keep that in mind. When we played them last time, they came out and took it to us. It kind of knocked us back on our heels, so we have to be ready to play. Their courts are ridiculously fast courts, so we have to do a good job of preparing for that.”
“Wake Forest is better than they’ve been the past couple of years. In watching their scores, they’re competing really well. It’s an away weekend, which we haven’t really had yet, so it’s a good time for us to get away and have some team bonding.”
With a 16-6 ledger, Alyssa Smith is enjoying a solid freshman campaign, currently tied as Duke’s third winningest singles player this season behind only Beatrice Capra (20-5) and Ester Goldfeld (18-7). Smith, ranked 92nd in the nation, owns a perfect 3-0 mark in conference play this season, and has not lost a match in her last four appearances. Smith is similarly successful in doubles, boasting a 17-4 overall ledger and dropping just one doubles match in ten dual-match appearances
Duke at No. 1
After winning the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) National Team Indoor Championship Feb. 10, the Blue Devils secured the No. 1 ranking from the ITA. Duke has remained the top-ranked team in the nation after three weeks. Over this span, Duke has registered three wins, including victories over nationally ranked Notre Dame (then No. 25) and North Carolina (then No. 11). Duke showcases four nationally ranked singles players, including No. 2 Beatrice Capra, No. 18 Ester Goldfeld, No. 44 Hanna Mar and No. 92 Alyssa Smith. In addition to singles players, three doubles tandems appear ranked among the nation’s top-60 doubles pairs, including fourth-ranked Capra and Mar, 27th-ranked Annie Mulholland and Goldfeld, and 43rd ranked Goldfeld and Marianne Jodoin.