As play begins in the Division I sectional girls tennis tournament Thursday, Oct. 4, at Reynoldsburg High School, it is clear that either Olentangy or Orange will have at least one representative in a district-qualifying match.
Olentangy senior Megan Brdicka and her sister, freshman Brianna Brdicka, who played the top two singles positions during the regular season, received the second seed in the doubles portion of the tournament. They have a first-round bye and will open against Orange seniors Karlee Greene and Kendra Hopeck, who also have a first-round bye.
The winner will advance to a district-qualifying match to face Reynoldsburg's Paris Ring and Rebecca Kibe, Watkins Memorial's Cheyenne Fletcher and Megan Jamison or Worthington Kilbourne's Elizabeth Borchers and Anna Zellar.
"We're excited they earned the second seed and they're excited to play together," Olentangy coach Jeff Luxenburger said. "If they play to their potential, they should do great. They will have to play well to beat (Greene and Hopeck). (Orange coach) Mark Latham will have them ready to go. I think Reynoldsburg will come through the other side."
The top four finishers in singles and doubles advance to the district tournament Oct. 12 and 13 at Hilliard Davidson.
"That should be a great (opening) match," Latham said. "Karlee and Kendra have played well and that's usually our first-doubles team. But we moved our top singles players to doubles as well, Jessica Phelps and Madison Wolfe. They're seeded fourth and have a good chance to reach district, which is our goal. However, it would be a great accomplishment to get the second-doubles team through as well."
Phelps, a sophomore, and Wolfe, a junior, have a first-round bye and will open against Watkins Memorial's Shelby Giffin and Molly Schell or Lancaster's Siara Patrick and Bailey Kuhn.
Olentangy senior Sandhya Arya and junior Grace Cramer will open against Hamilton Township's Amina Cheema and Taylor Baker. The winner advances to the second round against Canal Winchester's Caitlyn Woodward and Emily Cupp.
In first-round singles matches for Olentangy, Pallavi Mannava faces Reynoldsburg's Diamond Person, Elyssa Ackerman plays third-seeded Jane Haffer of New Albany and Jackie Vouis battles Hamilton Township's Kylie Scase.
For the Pioneers, Yoon Su Kim plays Lancaster's Jessica Bell in a play-in match, Carly Vroom faces Pickerington North's Emily Robinson and Madison Riley plays Kilbourne's Erica Chen.
The Braves (28 points) finished second and the Pioneers (25) were third in the OCC-Capital Division tournament Sept. 29 at Orange, as New Albany (40) won. Big Walnut (19), Delaware (18), Watkins Memorial (8), Mount Vernon (6) and Franklin Heights (1) rounded out the scoring.
New Albany (82, 7-0 in duals) won the league title ahead of Olentangy (62, 6-1) and Orange (55, 5-2).
New Albany swept all courts in the league tournament. Finishing second for the Braves were Megan Brdicka at first singles, Mannava at third singles and the first-doubles team of Arya and Cramer. Brianna Brdicka was third, as was the doubles team of Vouis and Ackerman.
For the Pioneers, Wolfe was runner-up at second singles and Kim and Vroom were second at second doubles. Phelps was third at first singles and Greene and Hopeck were third at first doubles.
"Reaching two finals was not expected, so the outcome was awesome," Latham said. "They all played their best and I'm really proud of that."
Liberty ties for second in league
Liberty, which tied for second in the OCC-Central tournament Sept. 29 at Davidson, will compete in a Division I sectional Thursday, Oct. 4, and Saturday, Oct. 6, at Upper Arlington.
The Patriots have two of the top three seeds in singles.
Junior Sydney Power is seeded first and freshman Alexia Meyer is seeded third. UA's Olivia Kompa and Gahanna's Kiara Shaw received the second and fourth seeds, respectively.
Power, who missed more than half of the season after having surgery on her left wrist in July, will open against Columbus West's Lian Kim or Zanesville's Ashleigh Rock in the first round. Power reached a district quarterfinal last season.
"Sydney has won every match since returning," coach Christine Kaeding said before the league tournament. "There was no problem or real debate about her being the No. 1 seed. All the coaches agreed based on reputation and her play since coming back. She's playing very well."
Meyer faces Franklin Heights' Breanna Novotney in the first round. Also in the first round in singles, senior Alicia DiMaccio will face Gahanna's Kiara Shaw.
"I'm confident that Alexia can get through to the second day," Kaeding said. "I also think Alicia will play a great first match against Shaw, and if she can get past her, she'll have a good chance to advance to district, too."
In doubles, senior Olivia Groves and freshman Anna Delaney received the third seed and a first-round bye. They will play Gahanna's Anna McCloud and Cara Monica in the second round.
"Anna and Olivia are real excited to get the chance to play together and they've really grown together as a team very well," Kaeding said. "I think we have the potential to do something rare and get to district on all five courts."
UA's Elaine Cloren and Audrey Berger and Andi Smart and Beniva Ganther earned the top two seeds. Seeded fourth are Gahanna's Emily Merickel and Elizabeth Sullivan.
Liberty sophomore Sonia Chhabria and freshman Avivah Wang also had a first-round bye and will play Merickel and Sullivan in the second round.
In the league tournament, Liberty tied Dublin Coffman for second (27) behind UA (40) and ahead of Davidson (21), Thomas Worthington (14), Marysville (11), Central Crossing (3) and Westland (2).
In the final league standings, Liberty went 6-1 and tied Coffman for second (61, 5-2) behind UA (82, 7-0).
In the league tournament, UA swept all courts. Power finished second at first singles and Chhabria and Wang were runners-up at second doubles. Finishing third were Meyer in second singles, DiMaccio in third singles and the first-doubles team of Groves and Delaney.