Lincoln, Neb. - The 17th-ranked Nebraska women's tennis team fell by a score of 6-1 to the No. 14 Michigan Wolverines in a Big Ten conference showdown on Friday afternoon in Lincoln. The Huskers (20-3, 6-2 Big Ten) hung tough with the Wolverines (14-6, 7-1 Big Ten) throughout a tightly contested match that featured four tiebreaks and three matches that were forced into extra sets.
The Huskers and the Wolverines kicked off the dual with doubles play in the middle of a sunny afternoon in Lincoln. Michigan took the first doubles win of the afternoon at the No. 3 position, where Sam Crister and Sarah Lee (NU) topped Izabella Zgierska and Janine Weinreich (NU), 8-2.
The top two doubles courts saw a pair of hard-fought matches, with both coming down to the wire before a winner was declared. Despite battling back to push the match to a tiebreak, Madeleine Geibert and Stefanie Weinstein (NU) narrowly fell to Emina Bektas and Brooke Bolender (UM), 9-8 (10-8) in No. 1 doubles.
Doubles play closed out at the No. 2 position, where Mary Weatherholt and Patricia Veresova (NU) faced Mimi Nguyen and Michelle Sulahian (UM). The match was neck-in-neck and NU hung in until the end, but the Wolverines were able to edge Nebraska by a score of 8-6.
The two teams entered singles play with Michigan holding a 1-0 lead over Nebraska. The Wolverines extended their lead to 2-0 with a win in No. 1 singles, where Michigan's 11th-ranked Bektas topped Nebraska's No. 43 Weatherholt, 6-2, 6-2.
NU battled back to cut Michigan's lead to 2-1 as No. 94 Weinreich downed the Wolverine's Critser at the No. 5 position by a score of 6-2, 6-3. Michigan responded with another win in No. 6 singles, where Kristen Dodge (UM) defeated Maike Zeppernick (NU), 6-0, 7-6, (7-3).
With the outcome of the dual still up for grabs, three intense matches at the No. 2, No. 3 and No. 4 singles positions would decide the dual. Although the three contests required a third set in order to declare a winner, NU was edged on each court.
The No. 3 singles position was the first of the three to finish. Michigan's Lee battled back from a first set loss to defeat Geibert by a score of 1-6, 7-6 (7-3), 6-3 and clinch the match for Michigan at 4-1.
Michigan then tacked up a victory in No. 2 singles, as Nebraska's Veresova fell at the hands of Bolender, 6-4, 4-6, 6-1. The match wrapped up at the No. 4 position, where NU's Weinstein was toppled by Michigan's Nguyen, 5-7, 7-6 (7-3), 6-0 to put the final score of the match at 6-1 in favor of Michigan.
The Huskers will continue conference play on Sunday afternoon in Lincoln, welcoming Michigan State to Lincoln for a dual at noon. The match will be held outdoors on the NU Varsity Courts on 17th and Vine Street; in case of inclement weather, the match will be moved inside to the Nebraska Tennis Center. Fans are encouraged to check back to Huskers.com for any venue changes for Sunday's event.
No. 17 Nebraska - 1
No. 14 Michigan - 6
NU Varsity Courts
1. No. 11 Emina Bektas (UM) def. No. 43 Mary Weatherholt (NU) 6-2, 6-2
2. Brooke Bolender (UM) def. No. 116 Patricia Veresova (NU) 6-4, 4-6, 6-1
3. Sarah Lee (UM) def. Madeleine Geibert (NU) 1-6, 7-6 (7-3), 6-3
4. Mimi Nguyen (UM) def. Stefanie Weinstein (NU) 5-7, 7-6 (7-3), 6-0
5. No. 94 Janine Weinreich (NU) def. Sam Critser (UM) 6-2, 6-3
6. Kristen Dodge (UM) def. Maike Zeppernick (NU) 6-0, 7-6 (7-3)
Order of finish (1, 5, 6, 3, 2, 4)
1. Emina Bektas/Brooke Bolender (UM) def. Madeleine Geibert/Stefanie Weinstein (NU) 9-8 (10-8)
2. Mimi Nguyen/Michelle Sulahian (UM) def. Mary Weatherholt/Patricia Veresova (NU) 8-6
3. Sam Crister/Sarah Lee (UM) def. Izabella Zgierska/Janine Weinreich (NU) 8-2
Order of finish (3, 1, 2)