The No. 16 Nebraska Huskers women’s tennis team (21-4, 10-1 Big Ten) head to the Big Ten Tournament in Bloomington, Ind. as the No. 2 seed after sharing the Big Ten regular season conference title with Michigan on a 10-1 record. The Wolverines handed the Huskers their only conference loss en route to the first conference title for Nebraska since 1978 when the scarlet and cream were still a part of the Big Eight.
The Huskers clinched the first round bye and will face Minnesota (10-14, 3-8 Big Ten) on Friday, April 26 at 1 p.m. CT. No. 10 seed Minnesota and No. 7 seed Penn State battled it out on Thursday, April 25 at 1 p.m. where the Golden Gophers edged out the Nittany Lions 4-1 to advance to the quarterfinals to face NU.
Huskers In The ITA National Rankings
Nebraska is currently ranked 16th after dropping two spots in this week’s rankings. The ITA Division I women’s tennis rankings were released Tuesday, April 23 and Nebraska slid to the No. 16 spot in the nation this week. The Huskers have remained in the top 25 of the nation the entire 2013 season to date peaking at No. 6, the highest in school history.
Mary Weatherholt remained at No. 11 in ITA singles holding a record of 22-1 (10-1 against ranked opponents) on the season, including victories against then-ranked No. 16 Ema Burgic of Baylor, No. 23 Brynn Boren of Tennessee, No. 58 Britney Sanders of Notre Dame, No. 41 Kelsey Dieters of Ohio State, No. 17 Petra Niedermayerova of Kansas State, No. 120 Melissa Kopinski of Illinois, and No. 55 Kate Turvy of Northwestern, No. 111 Leslie Hureau of Indiana, No. 57 Petra Januskova of Penn State, and No. 28 Emina Bektas of Michigan. Her only loss to a ranked opponent came at the hands of No. 83 Malika Rose of Oklahoma State.
Mary Weatherholt and partner Patricia Veresova climbed another spot in the ITA doubles rankings to No. 3 this week. The two are 18-1 on the season, including six victories against ranked opponents over then-ranked No. 12 Brynn Boren and Kata Szekely of Tennesse, No. 31 Petra Niedermayerova and Karla Bonacic from Kansas State, No. 8 Linda Abu Mushrefova and Nida Hamilton of Northwestern, No. 75 Petra Januskova and Chelsea Utting of Penn State, No. 39 Krisztina Kapitany and Mara Schmidt of Purdue, and No. 2 Brooke Bolender and Emina Bektas of Michigan.
German Huskers duo made up of Stefanie Weinstein and Janine Weinreich also held out in the ITA doubles rankings this week dropping to No. 82. The pair has earned an impressive 24-0 record this spring including two victories over ranked opponents. The ranked victories include then-ranked No. 41 Caitlyn Williams and Joanna Henderson of Tennessee and No. 45 Ronit Yurovsky and Sarah Lee of Michigan.
Nebraska is currently 12-3 against teams ranked in the ITA top 75, with six victories against opponents ranked inside the top 25. The Huskers have knocked off No. 7 Northwestern, No. 15 Baylor, No. 18 Notre Dame, No. 19 Purdue, No. 21 Vanderbilt, No. 23 Tennessee, No. 30 Penn State, No. 32 Kansas State, No. 32 Indiana, No. 37 Illinois, No. 55 Ohio State, and No. 64 Wyoming. Nebraska’s losses came from No. 10 Miami at the ITA National Team Indoor Championships on Feb. 8, No. 35 Oklahoma State on March 21, and No. 7 Michigan on April 13.
The Huskers are the third-highest ranked team in the Big Ten behind No. 6 Michigan and No. 15 Northwestern. Eight teams from the Big Ten are in the top 75 this week, with a total of three in the top 25. The remaining ranked Big Ten teams are No. 28 Purdue, No. 38 Indiana, No. 43 Illinois, No. 44 Penn State, and No. 70 Ohio State.
Mary Weatherholt Earns Athlete of the Week Three Times
The Huskers senior from Prairie Village, Kan. won the Big Ten Women’s Tennis Athlete-of-the-Week honors on March 13 following her impressive undefeated record, including several victories over ranked opponents in both singles and doubles. This marks the third time that Weatherholt has earned the award this season thus far, after claiming the honors the week of Jan. 30 and Feb. 13.
Huskers in the Record Books
Weatherholt, with her 22 singles victories thus far this season, has set the record for Career Singles wins at 115, previously held by Sandra Noetzel from 1996-2000. She set the record on Friday, Feb. 22 with a victory agaisnt UALR.
Weatherholt, with an impressive record this spring season at 40-2 combined record (22-1 single, 18-1 doubles), has reached 196 combined victories become the winningest women’s tennis player in Huskers history, formerly held by former teammate Madeleine Geibert with 181 total career combined wins. This pushes Geibert down to No. 2. With a good portion of the season remaining, Weatherholt will easily stretch this record even further with the remaining matches.
Stefanie Weinstein has notched 46 combined victories this season which notches her tied with Madeleine Geibert at No. 2 on the Career Combined wins record board (with 181). She matched Geibert on Sunday, April 21 with her two victories against Wisconsin. Weinstein only needs one more win to topple Geibert and fall right behind teammate Mary Weatherholt.
Weinstein also has 25 individual doubles wins this season which puts her at the No. 1 spot on the school’s Career Doubles Individual Wins list at 94. She surpassed former teammate Madeleine Geibert at 91 with her victory against Michigan State on Sunday, April 14 to achieve the top spot.
Mary Weatherholt has accumulated 18 doubles individual wins this season putting her at No. 3 on the Career Doubles Individual wins with 81.
Janine Weinreich has amassed 26 doubles individual victories this season notching her tied with Imke Reimers at No. 4 on the Career Doubles Individuals wins list with 74 total. One more would see her past Reimers to take the No. 4 spot behind teammate Weatherholt pushing Reimers to No. 5.
Weinstein and Weinreich, as a doubles team, have climbed onto the Season Doubles Team wins list at the No. 4 with their 25 victories this season. The duo would need two more to put them ahead of No. 3 Madeleine Geibert and Weinstein’s 2011-12 season tally of 26.
Nebraska hopes to continue their season’s success at the Big Ten Tournament and win the title. Nebraska has earned their fourth straight at-large bid to participate in the NCAA Team Tournament. The tournament’s first and second regional rounds take place May 10-12 and if the scarlet and cream snatch the Big Ten Tournament title to remain in the ITA top 16, they have a possibility of being one of the regional hosts for the tournament.
The Big Ten Tournament
The Big Ten Tournament is a prestigious and exciting event possessing some deep talent and top programs from around the nation. It displays excellence and is a fantastic preparation tool for the teams heading to the NCAA Tournament.
Eight teams enter the bracket ranked in the top 75, with the charge led by regular season conference co-champion Michigan on a 10-1 record shared by Nebraska. The Wolverines and Huskers met on April 13 with Michigan escaping triumphant 5-2 handing Nebraska their only conference defeat. As the No. 2 seed, Nebraska could have a chance at revenge against the Wolverines in the tournament finals if they can see their way past the quarterfinals and semifinals with Michigan doing the same.
Nebraska’s next closest scare came from a narrow victory over Northwestern on March 10 (4-3) and the two teams could be duking it out in the semifinals if the No. 16 Huskers find their way past their quarterfinal opponent Minnesota and if the No. 15 Wildcats scrape a victory together over No. 38 Indiana.
Tournament play began on Thursday, April 25 at 9 a.m. (CT) from the Varsity Tennis Courts in Bloomington, Ind., home of the Hoosiers. The morning matches saw No. 8 seed Iowa defeat No. 9 Ohio State while No. 5 Illinois toppled No. 12 Michigan State. The afternoon matches saw No. 10 Minnesota defeat No. 7 Penn State as well as No. 6 Indiana sweeping No. 11 Wisconsin.
Matches resume Friday, April 26 on the same schedule for the quarterfinals in which No. 1 Michigan, No. 2 Nebraska, No. 3 Northwestern, and No. 4 Purdue enter play. The Wolverines face the Iowa and the Boilermakers take on the Illinois at 9 a.m. (CT). The Huskers battle Minnesota and the Wildcats clash with Indiana at 1 p.m. (CT).
The semifinals matches are set for Saturday, April 27 at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. (CT), then the final match is set for Sunday, April 28 at 11 a.m. (CT).
Big Ten Network Tournament TV Coverage May 6
The Big Ten Network will provide Big Ten Women’s Tennis Tournament coverage on a delayed schedule on Monday, May 6 at 5 p.m. (CT). The men’s tournament follows at 6 p.m.
Huskers Win the Herman, Weatherholt Grabs Top Honors
The women’s tennis team earned Nebraska’s Herman Award, which goes to the team with the highest team GPA of all the Huskers sports, with a GPA of 3.793. The team won the award last season in 2012 as well.
Weatherholt also earned Nebraska’s Student Athlete of the Year award. The award only goes to one male and one female student athlete from all Huskers sports every year and Weatherholt’s hard work and success both on and off the court was able to see the senior attain the honor in her final season as a Husker student athlete.
Head Coach: Chuck Merzbacher
2012 Record: 16-9, 5-6 Big Ten
National Ranking: NR
Big Ten Tournament Seed: 10
Minnesota entered the tournament as the No. 10 seed and faced seventh-seeded Penn State, winning 4-1 to advance to the quarterfinals. The Golden Gophers were able to topple the Nittany Lions in regular season play with a 4-3 victory on April 5 in Minneapolis, Minn.
Minnesota suffered a 6-1 loss to Nebraska on April 19 at home. The only point for the Gophers came at the No. 4 singles where Jessika Mozia was able to edge out the Husker’s Maggy Lehmicke.
Minnesota is currently 10-14 overall. Minnesota currently aren’t ranked have no players in the singles rankings and no duos ranked in doubles. Last season Minnesota went 16-9, 5-6 Big Ten. Minnesota and Nebraska have met 15 times throughout history with the series led by the Golden Gophers 11-4.