Urbana, Ill. - Nebraska's Mary Weatherholt continued her historic march in the NCAA Women's Tennis Singles Championships, advancing to the semifinals with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Georgia's Lauren Henning Saturday.
Weatherholt, who improved to 29-1 on the year in singles, became the first Husker women's tennis player to ever advance to the NCAA semifinals. The senior from Prairie Village, Kan., continued her season of firsts by sweeping the No. 6 Henning in straight sets at the Atkins Indoor Tennis Center at the University of Illinois.
Weatherholt, who was ranked No. 11 by the ITA entering the tournament and was essentially the tournament's No. 14 seed, notched her third straight-set win in four matches. She has dropped just one set in the tournament thus far, a 7-6 (4) tiebreaker in the opener of Friday's quarterfinal win over the tournament's No. 3 seed, Robin Anderson from UCLA. Weatherholt rebounded with a pair of 6-0 sweeps in the second and third sets to dispatch Anderson.
No comeback was necessary for Nebraska's All-American on Saturday, as Weatherholt dominated from start to finish.
"Mary played well from start to finish," Nebraska Associate Head Coach Hayden Perez said. "She got off to a great start and was focused from the opening point."
Weatherholt will enter Sunday's semifinal matches as the highest-ranked player remaining in the tournament. She will face No. 36 Alexa Guarachi from Alabama, who knocked off No. 41 Natalie Beazant from Rice, 6-4, 1-6, 6-1 in quarterfinal action Saturday. Weatherholt and Guarachi were the only remaining players competing in both singles and doubles quarterfinal action on Saturday.
Sunday's other semifinal match will pit No. 13 Natalie Gibbs from Stanford against No. 31 Breaunna Addison from Texas. Gibbs, a junior and the defending NCAA Singles Champion, cruised to a 6-1, 6-1 win over No. 16 Yana Koroleva from Clemson on Saturday, while Addison fought her way to a 5-7, 6-1, 6-4 victory over No. 7 Gina Suarez-Malaguti from North Carolina.
With the NCAA semifinals set to get underway Sunday at approximately 1 p.m., Weatherholt continues a storybook season.
The two-time Big Ten Women's Tennis Athlete of the Year is the first Husker in history to capture All-America honors in singles. She is sure to end her career with the highest individual ranking in school history, after becoming the first Husker singles competitor to advance to the NCAA Sweet 16, Quarterfinals and Semifinals.
Nebraska's 2013 Female Student-Athlete of the Year across all sports also claimed the ITA Cissie Leary Award for Sportsmanship, one of the most prestigious honors the ITA bestows each season. She also owns a school-record 122 singles victories among her NU record 207 combined career wins. Weatherholt owns a 51-4 combined record as a senior in singles and doubles.
She and doubles partner Patricia Veresova also earned All-America honors and extended their season to the NCAA Doubles Quarterfinals on Saturday. Weatherholt/Veresova, the No. 3 seed in the tournament, dropped three-set thriller, 4-6, 7-6, 6-7 to the UCLA duo of Anderson and Skylar Morton.
"It was incredible tennis and an amazing effort by both teams," Perez said. "The match could have gone either way. It was a heartbreaker for Mary and Patricia, but they had one of the best seasons in school history and have a lot to be proud of."
Weatherholt and Veresova, who ended their season with a 22-3 doubles record, finished their doubles career as the second set of doubles All-Americans in Nebraska history.
The senior duo also helped the Huskers to their first-ever spot in the Sweet 16 at the NCAA Team Championships.
Weatherholt at NCAA Singles Championship (4-0)
First Round (May 22)
#11 Mary Weatherholt (NEB) def. #38 Aleksandra Josifoska (UNLV), 6-4, 6-4
Second Round (May 23)
#11 Mary Weatherholt (NEB) def. #43 Klara Fabikova (Cal), 6-2, 6-1
Third Round (May 24)
#11 Mary Weatherholt (NEB) def. #3 Robin Anderson (UCLA), 6-7 (4), 6-0, 6-0
Quarterfinals (May 25)
#11 Mary Weatherholt (NEB) def. #6 Lauren Henning (Georgia), 6-2, 6-2
Semifinals (May 26)
#11 Mary Weatherholt (NEB) vs. Alexa Guarachi (Alabama), 1 p.m.
Nebraska at the 2013 NCAA Doubles Championship (2-1)
First Round (May 23)
#3 Mary Weatherholt/Patricia Veresova (NEB) def. #34 Masa Grgan/Abigail Tere-Apisah (Georgia State), 6-4, 5-7, 7-6 (6)
Second Round (May 24)
#3 Mary Weatherholt/Patricia Veresova (NEB) def. #13 Maria Belaya/Jeltje Loomans, (William & Mary), 7-6 (3), 4-6, 6-2
Quarterfinals (May 25)
#25 Robin Anderson/Skylar Morton (UCLA) def. #3 Mary Weatherholt/Patricia Veresova (NEB), 6-4, 6-7 (5), 7-6 (3) - eliminated in NCAA Elite Eight