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No. 10 Blue Devils host Princeton Wednesday

Posted Wednesday, March 22, 2006

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Durham, NC - After a week off, the No. 10 Duke women’s tennis team returns to action Wednesday with a 4 p.m. home contest against Princeton. The Blue Devils are 8-3 with a 2-0 Atlantic Coast Conference ledger this season, while the Tigers hold a 4-5 record heading into a 4 p.m. match against UNC Greensboro Tuesday at Duke. Pending weather conditions in Durham, the Princeton-Duke match will be played at either the outdoor Ambler Tennis Stadium or the Sheffield Indoor Tennis Center. The two facilities are located next to each other on Duke’s west campus.

The Blue Devils are coming off splitting a pair of contests to Yale and second-ranked Notre Dame in Florida last week. After downing Yale, 7-0, in the first contest of its spring break trip Monday, Duke fell to Notre Dame Wednesday in a tight 4-3 decision in Orlando, Fla. Notre Dame started out on top when the Blue Devils lost at each doubles position to give up the doubles point for the first time in 11 matches this year. Jackie Carleton, Melissa Mang and Kristin Cargill all picked up singles wins for Duke, but Notre Dame pulled through by winning in a third set on court three, clinching the win in the last singles match left on the courts.

Duke will be the fourth ACC team that Princeton has faced this year, with the ACC coming out on top in each. The Tigers fell to Virginia, 6-1, in the season opener, to Maryland, 4-3, March 5 and to N.C. State over the weekend, 5-2. Princeton has posted wins over Rutgers (6-1), St. John’s (5-0), Syracuse (6-1) and Temple (7-0) in 2006.


Duke and Princeton meet Wednesday for the 13th time, with the Blue Devils leading the overall series 9-3. The two teams have not met on the courts since 2002, when Duke shut out the Tigers, 7-0, in Durham. Princeton earned three successive wins over Duke from 1982-84, but has been unable to overcome the Blue Devils since that time.


Princeton’s second-year head coach, Kathy Sell, will be on familiar ground Wednesday, when the former Blue Devil coaches against her alma mater. Sell was a member of the Duke squad from 1998-2001, earning All-America status her senior year and helping guide the Blue Devils to two NCAA semifinal appearances. Sell is the second former Duke player-turned-head coach Duke has faced recently -- Yale’s Katie Granson also played at Duke from 2000-03.


In the latest Fila Collegiate Tennis Rankings released Tuesday, Duke fell from No. 5 to No. 10. The rankings were based on a computer formula, which takes into account a team’s recent match results as well as where past opponents appear in the rankings, for just the second time this year. The Blue Devils, who have been among the top 10 teams in the country for seven consectuive weeks, boast five players among the top 125 singles players in the country in No. 2 Daniela Bercek, No. 29 Jackie Carleton, No. 66 Tara Iyer, No. 108 Clelia Deltour and No. 122 Melissa Mang. Deltour was ranked in the preseason, but has only played two matches this spring due to recovery from an injured wrist and is entering this season’s rankings for the first time.


Following the Princeton match, the Blue Devils hit the road for a pair of conference matches this weekend, playing at No. 43 Virginia Saturday at noon and at No. 60 Virginia Tech Sunday at 10:30 a.m. Following those two matches, Duke returns home for a 5 p.m. contest Tuesday against No. 6 Florida.

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