Lincoln, Neb. - The first day of the ITA Kick Off weekend at the Nebraska Tennis Center provided some intense action for the spectators who came to see your 17th-ranked Nebraska Huskers host No. 22 Georgia Tech, No. 23 Tennessee, and No. 18 Notre Dame. The Huskers (3-0, 0-0 Big Ten) faced a tough challenge Saturday against the Volunteers. Nebraska cruised through doubles play heading into a suspenseful group of singles matches leading to a narrow victory for the Huskers over Tennessee.
The Huskers and the Volunteers began the match with doubles. In the No. 1 position, Huskers Mary Weatherholt and Patricia Veresova sealed the first doubles match at 8-3 against Tennessee's Brynn Boren and Kata Szekely, who are ranked No. 12 as a pair in the ITA doubles rankings. Nebraska sealed the doubles point at the No. 2 position where Stefanie Weinstein and Janine Weinreich defeated Volunteers Caitlyn Williams and Joanna Henderson 8-3. The No. 3 doubles match facing Huskers Maike Zeppernick and Maggy Lehmicke against Tennessee's Tiffany Tavares and Sarah Toti went unfinished and the Huskers took the lead 1-0.
Going into singles on a 1-0 lead, the Huskers pushed the lead to 2-0 on a victory provided by Maggy Lehmicke at the No. 5 spot when her opponent Mimi Fotopoulos retired due to injury at a score of 6-4, 2-1. Tennessee sliced the margin in half at the No. 6 position when Huskers Maike Zeppernick fell to Volunteer Tiffany Tavares 4-6, 4-2.
Mary Weatherholt ousted 58th ranked Brynn Boren 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 at the No. 1 position to make the score 3-1. Tennessee grabbed two victories at the to tie the score when the Volunteers' Joanna Henderson defeated Nebraska's Janine Weinreich at the No. 4 position 6-2, 5-7, 6-4 followed by Tennesee's Kata Szekely edging Patricia Veresova at the No. 2 position 6-4, 7-6 (7-5).
With the score tied at three, the last match had the crowd on their feet being in the third set with the victory on the line. Nebraska's Stefanie Weinstein put together a solid performance down the stretch to dismiss Tennessee's Caitlyn Williams 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 and seal the victory for the Huskers. Having the victory in the bag, Nebraska advances to the championship match to be played Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. against No. 18 Notre Dame.
Earlier in the day for the first match, the No. 18 Notre Dame team were able to narrowly defeat No. 22 Georgia Tech on a 4-3 score to move into the championship match on Sunday against No. 17 Nebraska. The Yellow Jackets will face No. 23 Tennessee in the consolation match Sunday morning.
The match started with an exciting round of doubles where Georgia Tech got the lead on the doubles point to go ahead early 1-0. The singles matches saw some extremely close finishes with a few tie breakers and the concluding match going to three sets. Georgia Tech extended their lead with the first singles match pushing the score to 2-0 before Notre Dame grabbed their first tally and cut the margin back to 2-1.
Georgia Tech quickly extended the lead again to 3-1 by securing the third match. Notre Dame was trailing in its remaining three matches but fought hard to bring it back and tie the match at 3-3. In a nail-biting finish, the final match went to a third set and ended on a tie break that saw Notre Dame grab the final point and decide the results to secure their victory at 4-3.
Nebraska will return to the courts tomorrow for the second half of the ITA Kick Off weekend before heading to Ohio State next Saturday, Feb. 2 at 11 a.m. to face their first Big Ten opponent of the season.
No. 17 Nebraska - 4
No. 23 Tennessee - 3
Nebraska Tennis Center
1. Mary Weatherholt (NU) def. Brynn Boren (UT) 6-3, 3-6, 6-3
2. Kata Szekely (UT) def. Patricia Veresova (NU) 6-4, 7-6 (7-5)
3. Stefanie Weinstein (NU) def. Caitlyn Williams (UT) 4-6, 6-4, 6-3
4. Joanna Henderson (UT) def. Janine Weinreich (NU) 6-2, 5-7, 6-4
5. Maggy Lehmicke (NU) def. Mimi Fotopoulos (UT) 6-4, 2-1 (retirement)
6. Tiffany Tavares (UT) def. Maike Zeppernick (NU) 6-4, 6-2
Order of finish (5, 6, 1, 4, 2, 3)
1. Patricia Veresova/Mary Weatherholt (NU) def.Brynn Boren/Kata Szekely (UT) 8-3
2. Janine Weinreich/Stefanie Weinstein (NU) def. Caitlyn Williams/Joanna Henderson (UT) 8-5
3. Maggy Lehmicke/Maike Zeppernick (NU) led Tiffany Tavares/Sarah Toti (UT) 7-5 (unfinished)
Order of finish (1, 2, 3)