Olentangy Orange High School boys tennis coach Mark Latham beefed up his regular- season schedule this year by adding opponents such as Dublin Coffman, Dublin Jerome and Liberty.

Olentangy Orange High School boys tennis coach Mark Latham beefed up his regular- season schedule this year by adding opponents such as Dublin Coffman, Dublin Jerome and Liberty.

Latham figured his team might take some lumps, but he made the moves to help prepare his players to compete in the Division I tournament for the first time this season.

Therefore, Latham has been pleasantly surprised to see the Pioneers get out to a 7-4 start in dual matches, especially after finishing 5-10 last year.

"I planned a harder schedule to help our kids prepare for the tournaments, and they're doing a great job of holding their own," Latham said.

"We're still far from breezing to a winning record because we've yet to play some of our tougher opponents, but we're winning matches that we lost last year, which is really encouraging."

Sophomore Doug Ganim has played a major role in Orange's strong start. Before last Tuesday, he was 7-3 at first singles after going 8-6 at second singles a year ago.

Last Friday, he beat Village Academy's Aaron Sun 5-7, 6-1, 6-1 after losing to Sun 8-1 in pro sets last season.

Ganim's emergence has allowed Tanner Greene to move to second singles, where he was 6-1 before last Tuesday. Greene finished 2-8 at first singles last year.

"A lot of our success hinges on Doug and Tanner," Latham said. "They have both gotten a lot better. Instead of just hitting the ball with power, they are stroking the ball and thinking about setting up their next shot."

Before last Tuesday, Ryan Jay was 4-4 at third singles.

•Liberty defeated Dublin Scioto 5-0 on April 22 to improve to 7-5 overall and 5-0 in the OCC-Cardinal Division.

Although the Patriots are an overwhelming favorite to beat Westerville South in their league finale Tuesday at home, senior captain Tyler Gibbons said they aren't taking anything for granted.

Liberty, which beat Jerome 3-2 on April 6, wants to sweep all five courts against South to enter the OCC-Cardinal tournament May 8 with at least a one-point lead over the Celtics.

"Obviously, our next goal is to win the rest of our OCC matches to set ourselves up to win another OCC title," Gibbons said.

"We didn't lose a court in the OCC last year, but we've already lost two courts to Jerome this season, so it's important that we win the rest of them to put ourselves in a good position for the tournament."

Senior Arren Carter started the season 10-1, including wins over two returning Division I state qualifiers.

Carter beat Shaker Heights' Tommy Marx 6-1, 2-6, 7-5 on April 17 and defeated Upper Arlington's Billy Weldon 6-2, 6-0 two days later.

Carter lost to Worthington Kilbourne's Kevin Metka 11-10 (8-6) in the second round of the Worthington Cup last Saturday. Metka teamed with Jonny Price to win the Division I state doubles title a year ago.

"We're a solid team, but there's still room for improvement," coach Steve Sisko said.

At a glance

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

LIBERTY

*April 13 - Defeated Olentangy 5-0

April 14 - Lost to Columbus Academy 3-2

April 17 - Def. Shaker Heights 5-0

April 19 - Lost to Upper Arlington 4-1

*April 20 - Def. Westerville North 5-0

*April 22 - Def. Dublin Scioto 5-0

Last Saturday - Tied St. Charles for third (nine points) in Worthington Cup, behind champion Upper Arlington (16)

*Last Tuesday - Played Westerville Central

Last Wednesday - Played Worthington Kilbourne

Today - Home vs. Dublin Coffman

Friday - Home vs. Thomas Worthington in OTCA match

*Tuesday - Home vs. Westerville South

Wednesday - At New Albany

Of note: The Patriots were 7-2 overall and 5-0 in the OCC-Cardinal before last Tuesday.

OLENTANGY

*April 13 - Lost to Liberty 5-0

April 14 - Lost to Orange 4-1

April 19 - Lost to Big Walnut 5-0

*April 20 - Lost to Dublin Jerome 5-0

*April 22 - Lost to Westerville Central 5-0

*Last Tuesday - Played Westerville South

Today - Home vs. St. Charles

*Friday - At Dublin Scioto

Monday - Home vs. Hilliard Bradley

*Tuesday - Home vs. Westerville North

Of note: The Braves were 3-6 overall and 1-3 in the OCC-Cardinal before last Tuesday.

*OCC-Cardinal match

ORANGE

*April 13 - Lost to New Albany 5-0

April 14 - Def. Olentangy 4-1

April 19 - Def. Lancaster 5-0

*April 20 - Def. Watkins Memorial 4-1

April 21 - Def. Hamilton Township 3-2

*April 22 - Def. Franklin Heights 5-0

Last Friday - Lost to Village Academy 3-2

Last Tuesday - Played Hilliard Bradley

Last Wednesday - Played Dublin Coffman

Today - Home vs. Dublin Jerome

Saturday - At Village Academy Cup

Monday - Home vs. Marysville

*Tuesday - At Delaware

Of note: The Pioneers were 7-4 overall before last Tuesday and are 3-2 in the OCC-Capital.

*OCC-Capital match