When she landed face first on the hard courts at the Elysium Indoor Tennis facility in Plain City in a Division I state singles quarterfinal last Friday, Alex Power looked like a prizefighter falling to the canvas.

When she landed face first on the hard courts at the Elysium Indoor Tennis facility in Plain City in a Division I state singles quarterfinal last Friday, Alex Power looked like a prizefighter falling to the canvas.

The Olentangy Liberty High School senior had taken the first set and was tied with Massillon Jackson's Trish Conlan at 5 in the second set. From the stands, one of Power's friends kept whispering, "Get up, get up."

Power got up and then battled through a hip injury to become the district's first player to make it to the second day of the state tournament as she defeated Conlan a 6-1, 7-6 (7-5).

Playing with a noticeable limp last Saturday, Power lost to Cincinnati Ursuline Academy's Komal Safdar 6-3, 6-1 in a semifinal and to Rocky River Magnificat's Stephanie Hollis 6-4, 6-1 in the consolation match to place fourth.

She defeated Tipp City Tippecanoe's Sierra Nellessen 6-3, 6-2 in her opening match last Friday.

"The trainer asked me if I wanted to stop," said Power, a three-time state qualifier who lost in the first round as a freshman and in a quarterfinal last year. "I told her it is the final match (to advance to a state semifinal). I'm not going to give in. I had to play through the pain."

"Alex doesn't go out without a fight," coach Christine Kaeding said. "I didn't think an injury was going to stop her."

Power finished the season at 26-4. She lost twice to state champion Niki Flower of Upper Arlington and once each to state runner-up Safdar and third-place finisher Hollis.

Power won the OCC-Cardinal Division first-singles championship, defeating Dublin Jerome's Lydia Utkin 6-2, 6-0. She placed second at the sectional tournament Oct. 8 and 10 at Upper Arlington and the district tournament Oct. 16-17 at Hilliard Davidson, losing to Flower both times.

Though initially disappointed with losing her final two matches with the Patriots, Power realized how much she accomplished.

"Once you get to the second day, it was a whole new level of competition," she said. "I came a little bit short of my goals, but it was one step further than last year."

"I knew she was disappointed," Kaeding said. "Up to that point, she was playing better than I'd ever seen her play. When you look at it at the end of the day, how many girls get to play in the second day of the state tournament? We weren't here last year; we're here today."

Liberty finished 11-4 overall and second in the OCC-Cardinal at 5-1 with 57 points behind Dublin Jerome (6-0, 71), which did not complete a league match against Olentangy. Dublin Scioto (5-2, 50) placed third in the league, followed by Westerville Central (4-3, 37), Westerville North (3-4, 30), Westerville South (1-6, 22), Olentangy (2-4, 20) and Marysville (0-7, 4).

Liberty loses six seniors in Power, Carly Olmstead (second singles), Cecilia Boldrini (third singles), Betsey McLaughlin (first doubles), Hannah Foor (second doubles) and Kelsey Wathen (second doubles).

Olmstead, who went 15-13 and was the league runner-up at second singles, and Boldrini, who was 17-8, played doubles in the postseason. The duo placed fourth at sectional and lost to Jerome's Kelly Doran and Kathryn Farrar 6-1, 6-2 in a district quarterfinal.

McLaughlin (17-6), Foor (7-10) and Wathen (6-9) also were solid contributors. Wathen sustained an ankle injury in the third week of September and didn't play after that.

Junior Madelyn Kelley (9-7), sophomore Lauren DeVincent (18-5), and freshman Olivia Groves (11-7) are expected to return.

McLaughlin and DeVincent teamed up at first doubles in the OCC-Cardinal tournament, losing to Doran and Farrar 6-0, 6-0 in the final. Foor placed fifth at third singles and Kelley and Groves defeated Westerville South's Anna Samuelson and Barb Crider 8-4 to place third at second doubles.

"We'll be pretty strong with the girls we have coming back," Kaeding said. "We also should have Alex's sister, Sydney, an eighth grader, coming up."

At a glance

LIBERTY

•Record: 11-4 overall, 5-1 (second, 57) in the OCC-Cardinal

•Senior lost: Cecilia Boldrini, Hannah Foor, Betsy McLaughlin, Carly Olmstead, Alex Power and Kelsey Wathen

•Key returnees: Lauren DeVincent, Olivia Groves and Madelyn Kelley