Olentangy High School girls tennis coach Cheryl Bayless sees no advantage in having her team play host to the OCC-Cardinal Division tournament.

Olentangy High School girls tennis coach Cheryl Bayless sees no advantage in having her team play host to the OCC-Cardinal Division tournament.

If she had her choice, one of the other seven teams in the league would be playing host to the tournament on Saturday.

"I love going to a tournament where you take your team there and just worry about coaching," she said. "There's always one more thing to do when you're hosting an event like that."

Last season, Olentangy finished 3-4 in the OCC-Cardinal and concluded the league tournament with 31 points to place fifth behind Dublin Jerome (7-0, 76), Liberty (6-1, 51), Westerville Central (5-2, 40) and Dublin Scioto (4-3, 35) and ahead of Westerville North (2-5, 10), Westerville South (1-6, 8) and Marysville (0-7, 5).

The Braves were 2-3 in the OCC-Cardinal before playing Westerville North last Tuesday.

Seniors Ally Bayless and Lauren Bayless and sophomore Rachel Ratnasingham are the only players who have competed in the OCC-Cardinal tournament. Last year, Lauren Bayless (third singles) and Ratnasingham and graduate Hanisha Patel (second doubles) had the team's best finish, placing third.

Coach Bayless said the Delaware County tournament, held Aug. 22 at Westerville Central, marked the first tournament for many of the players. Aly Bayless won the title at third singles, as Olentangy tied Village Academy for third (12) behind champion Westerville Central (23).

"Tournaments are a different animal, and the three girls we have (who have played in the tournament) can show the younger players what to expect," coach Bayless said.

Coach Bayless allows the seniors to set the lineup for the tournament, so the Braves might have a completely different lineup for the event.

"We may have some singles players playing doubles and some doubles players moving to singles," she said. "I want to have a practice right before the tournament where we just focus on doubles, but really at this point in the season they should be able to walk on a doubles court and feel comfortable."

•There is a strong possibility that Liberty will be a league runner-up for the fourth consecutive year.

The Patriots, who were the OCC-Cardinal runners-up last year and the OCC-Capital runners-up in 2007 and '06, were 5-1 in the OCC-Cardinal before facing Westerville North last Monday and Westerville South last Tuesday. Their only defeat was a 4-1 loss to league-favorite Jerome on Aug. 25.

"I think if we play well, we can come in second," coach Christine Kaeding said. "But we don't have it in the bag. Anyone can have a good day or a bad match. We have to go in there and play as hard as we can."

• Orange coach Mark Latham is hoping a series of matches decided by a 3-2 score have helped his team prepare for the OCC-Capital tournament. The Pioneers, who play host to the league tournament Saturday, were 3-1 overall in such matches, having defeated Thomas Worthington, Village Academy and Olentangy and having lost to Hilliard Bradley.

"I think the thing that it has taught us is to keep up the intensity," said Latham, whose team was 5-6 overall and 2-2 in the OCC-Capital before playing Delaware last Tuesday. "The times we've lost are when we're making unforced errors. They get so excited and they run through shots. We have the capability to win, but we have to reel it in when we're given opportunities to win."

Last year, Orange finished 4-2 in the OCC-Capital and tied Watkins Memorial for third with 35 points behind New Albany (6-0, 70) and Delaware (4-2, 41) and ahead of Big Walnut (2-4, 25), Mount Vernon (1-5, 14) and Franklin Heights (0-6, 1). Cassia Cramer had the team's best finish, placing second at third singles.

The OCC-Capital tournament is the final step in preparation for the Division I sectional and district tournaments, but Latham believes the league tournament won't help his team prepare for the postseason as much as the Pioneers' non-league schedule.

"We knew we were going to go up to Division I and made our schedule a little bit tougher," he said. "We've played a lot of higher-tiered players to prepare us for what we're going to see at the sectionals.

"Having this year of experience and going through three tournaments should help us. We've played a lot of tennis and we're hoping we can peak at the right time."

At a glance

Below are the recent results and coming schedules for the Liberty, Olentangy and Orange girls tennis teams:

LIBERTY

Sept. 14 -- Defeated Upper Arlington B 3-2

*Sept. 15 -- Def. Dublin Scioto 3-2

Sept. 16 -- Def. Hilliard Bradley 4-1

*Sept. 21 -- At Westerville North. Postponed and rescheduled for last Monday

*Sept. 22 -- Def. Westerville Central 5-0

Sept. 23 -- Lost to Watterson 3-2

Sept. 24 -- Lost to Dublin Jerome 3-0 in the third round of the OTCA Division I tournament.

*Last Monday -- Played Westerville North

*Last Tuesday -- Played Westerville South

Last Wednesday -- Played Orange

Oct. 3 -- At Olentangy for OCC-Cardinal tournament

Monday -- Home vs. Coffman

Of note: The Patriots were 7-4 overall and 5-1 in the OCC-Cardinal before last Monday.

OLENTANGY

*Sept. 15 -- Lost to Westerville Central 4-1

Sept. 17 -- Lost to Big Walnut 3-2

*Sept. 22 -- Def. Westerville South 4-1

Last Monday -- Played Marion Pleasant

*Last Tuesday -- Played Westerville North

Today -- Home vs. Upper Arlington B

Saturday -- Home for OCC-Cardinal tournament

Monday -- At Worthington Christian

*Tuesday -- At Dublin Jerome

Of note: The Braves were 3-6 overall before last Monday and 2-3 in the OCC-Cardinal before last Tuesday.

*OCC-Cardinal match

ORANGE

Sept. 15 -- Lost to Upper Arlington 5-0

*Sept. 22 -- Lost to Hilliard Bradley 3-2

Sept. 24 -- Match against Lancaster postponed

*Last Tuesday -- Played Delaware

Last Wednesday -- Played Liberty

*Today -- Home vs. Watkins Memorial

Saturday -- Home for OCC-Capital tournament

Of note: The Pioneers were 5-6 overall and 2-2 in the OCC-Capital before last Tuesday.

*OCC-Capital match