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Recruiting Update
Countdown: Nze heads to Duke

Many of the very top juniors drift away from junior tennis and start playing futures events - to challenge themselves and to earn points on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour. One of these players is Blue Chip senior Ellah Nze (Delray Beach, FL). With a pro tournament title under her belt and a Top-500 WTA ranking, Nze plans to head to Durham, North Carolina this Fall as a Duke Blue Devil.

Blue Chip Senior Ellah Nze
"I am really excited to be heading to Duke. The combination of great athletics and academics is second to none. But the biggest factor for me in my decision was the team. When I first arrived on my visit, the team automatically accepted me and went out of their way to make me feel welcomed. Each team member individually showed me around the campus and answered any questions I had about the school, community and tennis - without the coaches' initiative."

Duke coach Jamie Ashworth is lucky to be adding such an experienced player with a strong work ethic. Nze travelled the world last year and picked up twenty-four singles wins - including three over players in the Top 500. A career highlight was her tournament title at a $10K tournament in Obregon, Mexico, where she ousted three of the top four seeds.

Players at Nze's level are looking for a college program that can help them to the next level. One of the top programs in the country, Duke had several factors in its favor - world-class teammates, alumnae who went on to have professional tournament success, and a couple of connections. These factors make her confident about her decision.

"During my visit, I had the opportunity to speak with [former Duke player and pro] Ansley Cargill, someone I have played and admire. She spent time with me and helped me put all of my concerns in the proper perspective.

"I also know most of the current team members. I have played ITF's around the world with Liz Plotkin, and have seen Jessi Robinson and Melissa Mang at junior tournaments. Most importantly, I am really excited that my friend Reka Zsilinska will be a freshman with me! We are both interested in the same major and have already talked about living on same floor in the dorms."

Nze and Zsilinska - who both rank among the top ten prospects in the country - form the #2 group in our winter rankings of the top recruiting classes.

Born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, Nze has spent the past few years as a Florida resident. She is excited about returning to a more seasonal environment.

"I love Durham, and I also love the weather in North Carolina. Since moving to Florida, I have been unable to experience the four seasons. North Carolina is similar to Baltimore without all of the snow. My favorite season is fall, and I especially enjoy seeing the fall foliage."


Countdown to Signing Day Coverage

April arrives this weekend, and with it the arrival of Signing Week. We wrap up our Countdown next week by chatting with Dartmouth commit Curtis Roby. Review all of our Countdown articles with a look at our Countdown Calendar.


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More Recruiting Profiles

Kaitlyn McCarthy stays in-state with Blue Devils
Kaitlyn McCarthy the top-ranked senior of the Class of 2015, shortlisted four of the country's outstanding schools: Florida, UNC, Stanford and Duke. After visiting campuses, she narrowed them to two - Duke and Florida. "It was a tough decision, both schools are really great," said the blue chip recruit. With lots of family in the area, location dictated her outcome. Home is Cary, North Carolina, a 20-minute drive from Duke, where McCarthy will enter in Fall 2015.

Sophie Chang Commits to the Wahoos
When Sophie Chang was still in elementary school, she didn't know much about college tennis, but she had an idea that she wanted to head south to Virginia. Surely enough, that is what will happen. Chang, a homeschooled Blue Chip rising senior from Havre de Grace, Md., has committed to play for the Virginia Cavaliers, who have become one of the nation's top programs in the past few seasons under Mark Guilbeau's coaching.

Blue Chip Victor Pham Commits to Columbia
From the outside, it seemed like the obvious choice. Victor Pham's older brother attended Columbia and was a member of the tennis team. Most people figured Pham would pick the school to prolong the family tradition. But Pham wanted to choose the school that was the best fit for him, and he didn't want anything to influence his decision. After doing thorough research and visiting several colleges, Pham decided the obvious choice was the right choice.

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Page updated on Tuesday, September 02, 2014
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