Emma Schelble won a state tennis title at No. 2 singles as a freshman, and then a No. 1 doubles title with her sister last season.
Now the Millard West junior is two wins from a No. 1 singles title.
Schelble, who was coming off her only loss of the season, picked up two straight-set victories Thursday during the first day of the Class A state meet at the Koch Family Tennis Center.
The pretournament seedings held true to form Thursday as the top four seeds in all four divisions advanced to Friday's semifinals. Semifinals are scheduled to start at 9 a.m., while the championship matches will begin at 1 p.m.
If Schelble is to win another state title, she will need to defeat two other Metro Conference opponents. Schelble faces Omaha Central's Giselle Tran in the semis, while Omaha Marian's Katherine Nelsen faces Omaha Westside freshman Sydney Harlow in the other semifinal.
Schelble's only loss came last week in the Metro tournament final when Nelsen defeated her 6-2, 6-1.
“She played really well and I didn't have my best stuff,” said Schelble, who has handed Nelsen her only two losses of the season. “Last week's loss just kind of motivated me to work even harder and improve certain aspects of my game so I can be successful.”
Nelsen and Tran won both of their matches Thursday in straight sets. Harlow, meanwhile, had to rally from a set down in the quarterfinals to defeat Columbus senior Sammi Licari.
Licari, who entered the match with a 39-4 record, won a back-and-forth opening set in a tiebreaker. She never trailed in the tiebreaker, racing to a 5-2 lead before winning 7-4.
But Harlow settled in after that, cut down on unforced errors and won the next two sets by identical 6-2 scores.
“I started making more shots and I was more consistent,” Harlow said. “(Licari) was real consistent with a lot of slices. It was hard to adjust to.”
Harlow knows she'll face a tough opponent in Nelsen in the semifinals.
“I have to be consistent and move her around,” Harlow said. “And when I get a short ball, I need to make every one.”
Harlow was part of a successful opening day for Westside as all four of its entries reached the semifinals. Westside leads the team race with 36 points, while Marian — the four-time defending champion — and Millard North are next with 32. Marian and Millard North had three entries each advance to the semifinals.
Among Millard North's semifinalists is its No. 1 doubles team of seniors Liz and Katherine Ternent, twin sisters who combined to go undefeated and win No. 2 doubles last season.
The Ternents, seeded fourth, also had to rally from a set down in their quarterfinal. They dropped the opening set to Lincoln Southeast's Danielle Kostal and Kari Nelson in a tiebreaker. But the Millard North team took control after that, winning 6-0, 6-1 in the last two sets.
“I think we just decided to keep the ball in play and not send it flying to the fence,” Katherine Ternent said. “We can't have any more slow starts.”
Team scores: Omaha Westside 36, Millard North 32, Omaha Marian 32, Lincoln Southwest 26, Lincoln Southeast 20, Millard West 18, Omaha Central 18, Grand Island 16, Kearney 16, Lincoln East 16, Papillion-La Vista 16, Columbus 14, Fremont 12, Bellevue East 10, Papillion-La Vista South 10, Lincoln Northeast 8, Omaha North 8, Millard South 6, Omaha Burke 6, Bellevue West 4, Omaha Bryan 4, Lincoln High 2, Lincoln North Star 2, North Platte 2, Omaha Northwest 2, Norfolk 0, Omaha Benson 0, Omaha South 0.
Individual results: Quarterfinals: No. 1 singles: Emma Schelble, MW, def. Alissa Sivinski, MN, 6-3, 6-2. Giselle Tran, Central, def. Kaley Clark, LE, 6-2, 6-4. Sydney Harlow, Westside, def. Sammi Licari, Columbus, 6-7 (4), 6-2, 6-2. Katherine Nelsen, Marian, def. Emma Neil, Papio, 6-2, 7-5. No. 2 singles: Dylan Harlow, Westside, def. Madison Eckstrom, LSE, 6-2, 6-0. Allison Johnson, MN, def. McKenzie Roehrs, LE, 6-3, 6-3. Chelsea Haack, Columbus, def. Tori Katzberg, GI, 6-3, 6-2. Julia Tatten, Marian, def. Tiffany Truong, LSW, 6-1, 6-2. No. 1 doubles: Jessica Koraleski-Courtney Warren, Marian, def. Sarah Hammes-Emmalynne Splichal, BE, 6-0, 6-4. Liz Ternent-Katherine Ternent, MN, def. Danielle Kostal-Kari Nelson, LSE, 6-7 (5), 6-0, 6-1. Saki Aota-Anna Bogdanov, LSW, def. Megan Bush-Jaydn Trimble, Kearney, 6-3, 6-4. McKinney Harwood-Andrea Kinnerk, Westside, def. Lauren Poulicek-Kelly Hunter, Papio South, 6-0, 6-2. No. 2 doubles: Libby Koukol-Alexandra McCarthy, MN, def. Taytem Chapman-Kaitlin Roselius, LE, 6-2, 6-2. Lauren Works-Sarah Hove, LSW, def. Sky Barlow-Allie Richardson, GI, 6-0, 6-0. Leigha Limbach-Stephanie Shields, Kearney, def. Jessica Gehr-Hannah Everett, LSE, 6-1, 4-6, 6-3. Allison Fisher-Katherine Slosburg, Westside, def. Emily Bachman-Mackenzie Ray, LNE, 6-2, 6-1.
Contact the writer: