Junior Arren Carter of the Olentangy Liberty High School boys tennis team fell short of his goal of winning the Division I district tournament last Friday and Saturday at Hilliard Davidson.

Junior Arren Carter of the Olentangy Liberty High School boys tennis team fell short of his goal of winning the Division I district tournament last Friday and Saturday at Hilliard Davidson.

Despite losing to New Albany's Peter Kobelt 7-5, 7-5 in the final, coach Steve Sisko said Carter has momentum and confidence heading into the state tournament Friday and Saturday at Ohio State.

"Peter's the best player in the state right now, and Arren pushed him to the limit in both sets," said Sisko, whose team finished 14-3 overall after losing to Upper Arlington 3-2 in an OTCA Division I district semifinal May 19. "Arren was down 5-1 in the second set and he fought back and almost won the match. Arren played awesome, and this is a good indication that he can beat anyone in the state if he plays well. His goal is to win the state tournament, and I think he's peaking at the right time, and he has just as good a chance as anyone of winning it all."

Carter opened the district tournament with a 6-0, 6-1 victory over New Albany's Sean Yun, then beat UA's Will Thieman 6-0, 6-0 in the second round.

In a semifinal, Carter defeated Dublin Coffman's Hiromi Nakayama 6-0, 6-1.

"Arren was focused on every point and he rolled through his first three matches," Sisko said. "Nakayama couldn't handle his groundstrokes. His match with Peter was very close. It was one of the best high school matches I've seen in a long time."

The top four at district advanced to state. Carter is making his third trip.

Last year, he lost to West Chester Lakota West's Wyatt Lippert 6-1, 6-2 in the second round. As a freshman, he lost to Cincinnati St. Xavier's Patrick Bandy 6-4, 7-5 in the second round.

"His goal is to win the state tournament, and I think he's peaking at the right time, both physically and mentally," Sisko said. "The key for Arren will be staying focused on every point, because when he hits his groundstrokes, he puts a lot of power on his shot and places it wherever he wants."

Mitchell Lothes and Alex Solove went 2-2 to place fourth at district, opening with a 6-4, 6-3 win over Pickerington Central's Marshall Levett and Chase Thomas and beating St. Charles Jack Toscano and Grant Dolven 6-2, 6-3 in a state-qualifying match.

"Alex hurt his ankle going into the tournament, so I tried to cover more of the court so he didn't have to move around too much," Lothes said. "We didn't do anything fancy. We just played good fundamental tennis."

Lothes and Solove lost to Worthington Kilbourne's Jonny Price and Kevin Metka 6-1, 6-1 in a semifinal and UA's James Melvin and Billy Weldon 5-7, 6-0, 6-1 in the consolation final.

"Metka and Price are both seasoned players who are big and aggressive, and they outmatched us a little bit," Lothes said. "We were beating UA, but Alex tweaked his ankle in the second game of the second set and he couldn't move around well after that."

Lothes and Solove will make their first trip to state.

"We're still hungry," Lothes said. "We aren't setting the goal of winning just one match. We want to win the state tournament. Alex's ankle has a full week to heal, and when Alex is healthy, he's one of the best doubles players in the state."

Alexander Hathaway opened district with a 6-4, 6-0 loss to DeSales' Myles Harris and Tyler Gibbons and Scott Miller opened with a 6-2, 6-2 loss to Melvin and Weldon.

•Brett Cooper and Tanner Greene of Orange went 1-1 in the Division II district tournament last Friday and Saturday at Columbus Academy.

They opened with a 6-3, 7-6 win over Gallia Academy's Quinton Niebert and Jordan Cornwell.

"We executed at the net better than they did, and we put the ball away before they could," Greene said.

They lost to Bexley's Preston Phillips and Matthew Wareti 6-2, 6-1 in a state-qualifying match.

"That match was closer than the score indicated, because every game went to deuce," Greene said. "They were just a little better than us in the close matches."

Doug Ganim opened with a 6-3, 6-1 loss to West Holmes' Johnny Nelson.

"Doug made a lot of mistakes and little errors to beat himself," Greene said.