By Ben Stroup
After a slew of solid showings during the weekend’s Division I sectional tournament at Upper Arlington, the Olentangy Liberty girls tennis team will be well represented at this Friday and Saturday’s district showcase.
Like, really well represented.
For the first time in school history, all seven Patriots (three singles standouts and a pair of doubles duos) played well enough at sectionals to advance to the district rung of competition — a feat no other area team was able to accomplish.
Liberty coach Meaghan Colville said she took a chance sending her girls to Upper Arlington … and it paid off big time.
“Each coach gets to choose the site to play in at sectionals,” she said. “After evaluating the field, I had a safe choice and a risky choice. I ultimately decided risky because of the quality players UA has, but I also felt strategically it was the best fit.”
It gave the Patriots, provided they played well, an opportunity to advance to districts as a group.
“We talk a lot about opportunities,” Colville said. “This year has been full of them for our group because we put ourselves in situations to succeed … and our girls responded.
“The UA sectional site was tough, but also provided a great opportunity our girls seized. Advancing all seven girls really speaks to the level of tennis we have at Liberty. It also represents the ‘team’ atmosphere we pride ourselves on.”
All seven girls played out of their minds, but Alexia Meyer really shined. She beat fellow Patriot Cellini Ko 6-1, 6-2 in the sectional semifinal, then knocked off Sidney Reineke, another teammate, 6-2, 6-2 in the championship.
Meyer advances to Friday’s district tournament as a No. 1 seed; Reineke, who beat UA’s Evelyn Holman 6-2, 6-0 to earn a shot at Meyer, will be the No. 2 seed; and Ko, who handled Holman 6-0, 6-1 in the third-place match, will be the third seed.
In doubles action, Liberty’s Anna Delaney and Lexi Steer finished as sectional runner-ups and Avivah Wang and Lizzie Radkiewicz finished fourth.
Steer and Delaney outlasted the Golden Bears’ Kompa girls 4-6, 7-6 (4), 6-3 in the semifinals before falling to another UA duo 6-4, 2-6, 6-7 (3) in the sectional finals.
Olentangy’s Bri Brdicka and Kathleen Jones also made plenty of noise over the weekend, defending their 2014 sectional championship with a first-place finish at Reynoldsburg’s D-I sectional showcase.
After a first-round bye, the duo cruised to wins of 6-0, 6-0 and 6-0, 6-1 to earn a spot in the final four. Two wins later, both over New Albany teams, and Brdicka and Jones were sectional champs. They won the final by an impressive 6-1, 6-0 spread.
In Division II action, Buckeye Valley’s Arianna Phrakornkham and Kasey Morris advanced to this Friday and Saturday’s district tournament, finishing fourth in sectional doubles action at Columbus School for Girls.
Follow Ben Stroup on Twitter @delgazette_ben.