A new month has brought favorable results for the Gahanna Lincoln High School girls tennis team.

A new month has brought favorable results for the Gahanna Lincoln High School girls tennis team.

In other words, September has been kind to the Lions. Before last Tuesday, Gahanna had won five of its previous seven matches dating back to Sept. 2. The wins were a welcomed change after the Lions lost six of their first seven matches to start the season.

"The girls didn't throw in the towel," coach Chris Schwinnen said. "I'm extremely pleased they didn't get down on themselves, they kept motivated and working hard."

On Saturday, Gahanna travels to Pickerington Central for the OCC-Ohio Division tournament. The Lions' turnaround has coincided with usage of a consistent lineup, especially within conference play.

Against OCC-Ohio foes, Schwinnen utilized a lineup consisting of Kiara Shaw at first singles, Hannah Fisher at second singles and Salena Steinhauser at third singles, along with the first doubles of Shannon Wallace and Tiffany Chen and second doubles of Courtney Katzmeyer and Abby Lutz.

"When we were 1-6, we weren't doing the little things," Schwinnen said. "We've kept our enthusiasm and continued to make practice and these matches fun. They go in having fun, confident and they're not letting the losses get to them."

Gahanna enters the OCC-Ohio tournament in fourth at 4-3, behind Pickerington Central at 7-0, Pickerington North at 6-1 and Lancaster at 5-2. Central has dominated the conference, winning six of its seven conference matches by a 5-0 score, including against Gahanna on Aug. 26.

"Everyone is on their game right now," Central coach Kelli Rings said. "The singles are taking care of business, the first doubles has been rolling all season and the second doubles is finally getting their groove on. Everything is working right now."

Last season, Gahanna finished fourth after the tournament at 2-4 with 32 points, behind Central (6-0, 63), North (5-1, 45) and Reynoldsburg (4-2, 38). Since the OCC realigned before the 2008-09 school year, Central has won both conference tournaments.

"I don't know if anyone can catch Kelly's team," Schwinnen said. "They're fantastic and I don't think she'll let them ease up for a second and it's a testament to the coach that she is. They have to have an absolutely horrible day for Pickerington North, Lancaster or even us to get close to them. It'll be tough to knock them off."

With Gahanna in the middle of the pack, Schwinnen is expected to be surrounded by competition. The Lions are striving to overtake Lancaster for third place, but they also are preparing to be pushed by Grove City and Reynoldsburg, which lost to Gahanna 3-2 on Sept. 10 and Sept. 14, respectively.

"We have to take care of business," Schwinnen said. "We're not hurting for confidence, though. We're ending the season strong and it boils down to the girls loving playing the game. They're having fun."

At a glance

Below are the recent results and coming schedules for the Gahanna Lincoln girls tennis team:

*Sept. 14 Defeated Reynoldsburg 3-2

Sept. 20 Lost to Hilliard Davidson 4-1

*Sept. 21 Def. Groveport 4-1

Sept. 22 Match vs. Westerville North postponed because of bad weather. No makeup date has been announced.

Last Tuesday Played Westerville Central

Today Home vs. Granville

Saturday OCC-Ohio tournament at Pickerington Central

Tuesday At Worthington Kilbourne

Of note: The Lions were 6-8 overall before last Tuesday and finished 4-3 in the OCC-Ohio.

*OCC-Ohio match