Beating a Top 20 team three times in a row is no easy task, and when you throw in loss of the doubles point and a rain delay, No. 3 Duke had its work cut out against ACC rival Virginia.
But the Blue Devils refocused, and under the moth-infested lights of the McWhorter courts, posted their third win over No. 14 Virginia by a 4-1 score.
The rain stopped play shortly after 6 pm, and two hours and 43 minutes later the courts had dried and the teams could resume play, with most singles matches in the first or second games.
Duke coach Jamie Ashworth said his team stayed loose during the long break, and although the indoor courts were available, he was glad the committee elected to wait for the outdoor courts to dry.
"I was really hoping not to go inside," said Ashworth. "You play all year with six and I wouldn't want a match to come down to two people playing at the same time at the 5 and 6 position. I really wanted to stay outside."
Duke had lost the doubles point to Virginia in Charlottesville in March, but came back to post a 4-3 win, so there was confidence among the Blue Devils.
"Our team has so much belief in their singles play," said Ashworth. "I said to them after the doubles, just a little bit of match recall. Whether it was the last match we played (against North Carolina), in the ACC finals, when we lost the doubles point, or when we played these guys and lost the doubles point, just remember that. You know you have to believe in each other and trust each other."
Both Trice Capra at 1 and Mary Clayton at 5 were behind in the opening sets of their matches against Virginia's Emily Fraser and Erin Vierra, but managed to take the first sets anyway, and Duke began take control. It was Rachel Kahan who drew Duke even with a win over Hana Tomljanovic at 4, with Capra making it 2-1 and Clayton recording the third point. Monica Turewicz looked like a sure bet for Duke's fourth point, leading Caryssa Peretz 4-1 and 5-3, but she couldn't hold serve when trying to close out the match at 5-4 and 6-5.
But in the tiebreaker, Turewicz collected herself, patiently setting up the points with slices, moon balls and any other shot that seemed to work.
"I felt we had to get that match momentum-wise," said Ashworth, "so they didn't anything to feed off of. Monica played more aggressive in the tiebreaker than she did in the entire second set."
Turewicz won the final five points of the match after trailing 3-2 in the tiebreaker, ending Virginia's season with a forehand winner to put the Blue Devils into Saturday's quarterfinals.
They will play No. 6 seed Georgia, the first time Duke has played Georgia in Athens during Ashworth's 16-year tenure.
"It'll be fun, it's definitely something I'm looking forward to," said Ashworth. "Hopefully it will be a really good atmosphere and a good crowd. When you get down to this point, the quarters, you just take your chances, and we're one of eight teams with a chance to win."
#3 DUKE (28-2) def. #14 VIRGINIA (20-8), 4-1 - McWhorter Courts
Head Coaches: Jamie Ashworth (DUKE) and Mark Guilbeau (VIRGINIA)
1. #31 Emily Fraser/Li Xi (VIRGINIA) def. #21 Mary Clayton/Ester Goldfeld (DUKE), 8-5
2. #17 Beatrice Capra/Rachel Kahan (DUKE) def. #43 Hana Tomljanovic/Erin Vierra (VIRGINIA), 8-4
3. Maria Fuccillo/Lindsey Hardenbergh (VIRGINIA) def. Monica Gorny/Hanna Mar (DUKE), 8-4
1. #2 Beatrice Capra (DUKE) def. #22 Emily Fraser (VIRGINIA), 6-3, 6-2
2. #110 Ester Goldfeld (DUKE) vs. #43 Lindsey Hardenbergh (VIRGINIA), 6-4, 4-5, unfinished
3. #59 Hanna Mar (DUKE) vs. #118 Li Xi (VIRGINIA), 5-7, 3-2, unfinished
4. #85 Rachel Kahan (DUKE) def. #125 Hana Tomljanovic (VIRGINIA), 6-4, 6-0
5. #66 Mary Clayton (DUKE) def. Erin Vierra (VIRGINIA), 7-5, 6-2
6. #97 Monica Turewicz (DUKE) def. Caryssa Peretz (VIRGINIA), 6-3, 7-6(3),
Order of Finish