AUSTIN, Texas – Eleventh-seeded Texas (19-7) took the doubles point and added singles wins from Aeriel Ellis, Lina Padegimaite and Cierra Gaytan-Leach to score a 4-2 win against Nebraska (24-4) Saturday in the second round of the NCAA tournament.
The Longhorns punch their ticket to the NCAA Championship’s round of 16 in Athens, Ga., for the third time in the last five seasons (2008, 2010, 2012). Texas most recently reached the round of 16 in 2010, when the round of 16 and beyond also were held in Athens. Texas will meet the winner of Saturday’s Georgia-Clemson match on May 17 in the round of 16 at Georgia’s Dan Magill Tennis Complex.
Nebraska opened the match by claiming the match at first doubles. The Huskers’ Madeleine Geibert and Stefanie Weinstein teamed up to produce an 8-5 win against UT’s Padegimaite and Noel Scott. Texas, however, responded with wins at the second and third positions to nail down the doubles point.
UT’s Krista Damico and Gaytan-Leach held an 8-7 lead on NU’s Patricia Veresova and Mary Weatherholt at second doubles, but the Huskers broke the Horns in the next game to force a tiebreaker. Damico and Gaytan-Leach took control early on in the tiebreaker and posted a 7-2 win to take the match.
At third doubles, NU’s Izabella Zgierska and Janine Weinreich broke for a 7-6 lead, but UT’s Elizabeth Begley and Ellis saved two match points on Nebraska’s serve before breaking the Huskers to even the match at seven games-all. Ellis held serve in the next game, and Texas broke Nebraska at-love in the following game to win the match, 9-7 and claim the doubles point.
Ellis maintained her momentum in singles play and staked Texas to a 2-0 lead behind a convincing win at first singles. The All-American took the first set off of Nebraska’s Weatherholt 6-2 and after being broken in the first game of set two, Ellis promptly took the next six games to win the set 6-1.
Nebraska sliced the Texas lead to 2-1 behind a 6-3, 6-4 win from Veresova over UT’s Damico at second singles. The Cornhuskers’ Weinstein evened the match at two apiece with a 6-2, 6-3 win against Scott at fourth singles.
Texas’ Padegimaite gave the Horns the lead for good at third singles, where she registered her fifteenth consecutive win, a 6-3, 6-2 triumph against Nebraska’s Geibert. UT’s Gaytan-Leach dropped the first set against NU’s Weinreich at fifth singles before rallying for a 6-3 second-set win.
Gaytan-Leach opened the third set by breaking Weinreich’s serve, but Weinreich broke and held serve for a 2-1 lead. Gaytan-Leach returned the favor, holding serve and breaking Weinreich for a 3-2 lead. Gaytan-Leach later held serve for a 5-3 lead, and with match point against her, Weinreich double-faulted her serve to give the third-set win to Gaytan-Leach 6-3.
The remaining match at sixth singles, with UT’s Begley and Nebraska’s Zgierska locked at two-all in the third set, was suspended given that Texas had clinched the victory.