By Ben Stroup
Liberty standouts Anna Delaney and Alexis Steer don’t always play together. But when they do, they’re really, really good.
Steer, a sophomore, spent a good part of the season playing singles while Delaney, a senior, anchored a strong doubles lineup.
They were good apart, but together … together they’re one of the top four Division I doubles teams in Ohio.
The duo dominated their first-round matchup and battled through a tough quarterfinal showdown during the first day of the OHSAA Girls State Tennis Tournament Friday at the Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason.
Two more wins today would give them a state championship.
In the opener, Delaney and Steer handled a pair from Walsh Jesuit, Skye Harwood and Megan Hissong, 6-1, 6-1.
The quarterfinal was a bit more of a test, but was one they passed in straight sets with a 6-4, 7-5 win over Canfield’s Hannah Cianciola and Ashley Kaleel.
Next up, Delaney and Steer get Cincinnati Ursuline Academy’s Jenny Duma and Gabriella O’Connor in a state semifinal. Duma and O’Connor won their opener 6-3, 6-3 before knocking off Dublin Jerome’s Neha Dudipaia and Courtney Go, the Central District’s top seed, 6-0, 6-0 in their quarterfinal.
The other semifinal features a pair of Upper Arlington duos — Kyra Jung and Anna Reynolds and Olivia and Paige Kompa.
In other action, Liberty senior Alexia Meyer, playing in the state showcase for the second straight fall, saw a stellar career come to a close with a 6-3, 6-3 opening-round loss to Rocky River Magnificat sophomore Alexandra Vesikallio.
Of the four Central District singles qualifiers, Dublin Jerome’s Ellee Bullock and Watterson’s Claire Ghidotti survived the opening round, but both lost their state-quarterfinal matches in straight sets.
Today’ singles semifinals will feature Cincinnati Sycamore’s Alexa Abele, Cincinnati Mt. Notre Dame’s Kalli Niehaus, Hudson’s Molly Sandberg and Cincinnati Princeton’s Emily Thomas.
Follow Ben Stroup on Twitter @delgazette_ben.