Lincoln, Neb. - No. 16 Nebraska advanced to its first NCAA Championships appearance in history, rolling to a 4-1 win over No. 57 UNLV in the second round of the 2013 NCAA Women's Tennis Tournament at the NU Varsity Courts on Saturday.
With the victory, Nebraska improved to 24-5 on the year and advanced to the 16-team NCAA Championships in Urbana, Ill., May 17-21. The University of Illinois will play host to the event at the Khan Outdoor Tennis Complex/Atkins Tennis Center.
Nebraska, which is seeded 15th in the tournament, will face No. 2 seed North Carolina on Friday, May 17 at 7 p.m. central.
UNLV finished its season with a 20-8 overall record.
Nebraska Coach Scott Jacobson, who received a celebratory dowsing from the team following the match, said the Huskers' depth was a key in advancing to the round of 16 in the NCAA Tournament.
"I'm awfully excited. They tested us, that's for sure," Jacobson said. "We had some battles down here. UNLV top-to-bottom is really solid so in the end I think our depth really helped. It was exciting to see the team get it done against a program who is playing at their highest level of the season as well."
Senior Janine Weinreich (Tespe, Germany) produced the decisive victory with her 6-4, 6-4 win over UNLV's Janine Erasmus at the No. 4 singles spot. Weinreich battled back from deficits in each of her two sets of singles and from a 4-1 deficit with teammate Stefanie Weinstein (Much, Germany) at No. 2 doubles. Despite playing from behind most of the day, Weinreich played a major role in the Huskers' historic victory.
Weinreich and Weinstein, two of Nebraska's four senior starters, trailed 4-1 to the UNLV pair of Erasmus and Aleksandra Josifoska in doubles play before rallying for an 8-4 win.
"It was a great feeling to come back and then also clinch the match," Weinreich said. "After being down 1-4 and then making those seven games in a row, that was a big win for Steffi and me. I was down in singles quite a bit, but I just tried to keep my mind right and not focus on the score but focus on my game and what I could control. That helped me a lot to just get it done today.
"It is a huge win for us. It was one of our goals for the whole season to go to the Sweet 16. We've had a great season so far, and this was another goal we got accomplished, making history for Nebraska."
That doubles victory helped set the tone for the Huskers, after Maggy Lehmicke and Izabella Zgierska notched an 8-5 win at the No. 3 doubles spot over Ella Bourchier and Iren Kotseva. The two victories gave Nebraska the doubles point, even without a win at the top spot from the No. 3 ranked doubles team in the nation - Mary Weatherholt and Patricia Veresova. NU's No. 1 team led 7-4 at the time the doubles point was secured by the Huskers.
While Weatherholt didn't figure into NU capturing the doubles point, the All-American set the pace for Huskers in singles. The nation's No. 11 player produced another dominant performance, rolling to a 6-3, 6-1 win over UNLV's No. 38 Josifoska at the No. 1 singles spot. Weatherholt, a native of Prairie Village, Kan., improved to 25-1 on the year in singles action and 45-3 overall in combined singles/doubles play.
Lehmicke, a freshman from Kirkland, Wash., pushed NU's lead to 3-1 with her 6-3, 6-2 victory over Bourchier at No. 5 singles. Lehmicke's second win of the day followed Veresova's 6-3, 6-2 setback to UNLV's No. 59 Lucia Batta on the No. 2 singles court. It was Nebraska's lone loss in the first two rounds of tournament play in the first-ever NCAA action on the Huskers' home courts.
Lehmicke's victory set up Weinreich's decisive win, which concluded just moments later. Weinreich trailed 4-2 in the second set before reeling off four straight points against Erasmus. Weinreich was down 3-1 in the opening set before rallying for the victory.
#16 Nebraska - 4
#57 UNLV - 1
NCAA Tournament Second Round
Saturday, May 11, 2013 (2 p.m.)
NU Varsity Tennis Courts
1. Weatherholt/Veresova (NEB) vs. Batta/Pavlovic (UNLV), DNF (7-4)
2. Weinstein/Weinreich (NEB) vs. Josifoska/Erasmus (UNLV), 8-4
3. Lehmicke/Zgierska (NEB) vs. Bourchier/Kotseva (UNLV), 8-3
Order of finish: (3, 2)
1. Mary Weatherholt (NEB) def. Aleksandra Josifoska (UNLV), 6-3, 6-1
2. Lucia Batta (UNLV) def. Patricia Veresova (NEB), 6-3, 6-2
3. Stefanie Weinstein (NEB) vs. Nives Pavlovic (UNLV), DNF (6-4, 1-6, 1-0)
4. Janine Weinreich (NEB) def. Janine Erasmus (UNLV), 6-4, 6-4
5. Maggy Lehmicke (NEB) def. Ella Bourchier (UNLV), 6-3, 6-2
6. Izabella Zgierska (NEB) vs. Iren Kotseva (UNLV), DNF (7-5, 2-5)
Order of finish: (1, 2, 5, 4)