Liberty's Power returns to state
Sydney Power never thought she would have a chance this fall to add to "one of the best experiences" in her life.
"I had been having trouble with my left wrist for some time and I had been taking cortisone shots," said Power, a junior on the Olentangy Liberty High School girls tennis team. "I hadn't played since March. In July, my doctor told me I'd have to quit playing or have surgery. When I had the surgery at the end of July, I didn't think I would make it back to play this year. If I did, I didn't expect this. I think I proved myself wrong and lots of others wrong, too."
Power finished second in the Division I district tournament held Oct. 12 and 13 at Hilliard Davidson and will compete in the state tournament Friday, Oct. 19, at Ohio State and Saturday, Oct. 20, at Davidson.
It will be the second appearance at state for Power.
"I made it as a freshman and lost 6-4, 6-4 to a girl (Westlake's Lauren Golick) who went on to finish second," Power said. "Although I was disappointed to lose in the first round, it was one of the best experiences I've ever had."
Power will open against Rocky River Magnificat's Emily Witt. A possible rematch against Golick looms in the second round, but Golick must get past Springboro's Julie Brockman in the first round.
At district, the top four finishers in singles and doubles advanced to state.
Power lost to Dublin Jerome's Lauren Bellinger 6-1, 6-1 in the district final after beating Dublin Coffman's Ashley Tan 4-6, 6-0, 6-4 in a semifinal. She opened by beating New Albany's Priyal Reddy 6-1, 6-1 and then defeating Jerome's Rhiannon James 6-0, 6-0.
"Sydney has done an amazing job coming back," coach Christine Kaeding said. "She made it back to compete in maybe one-fourth of the season and she was unbeaten until the district championship. Not just anyone could do what she did."
Power said she was energized by the layoff.
"It was tough to sit and watch and know I should be out there playing No. 1 for the team," she said. "It changed our lineup. I watched our team and my sister's college matches and I just kept thinking how much I miss it, how much I should be out there."
Also competing for the Patriots at district in singles was freshman Alexia Meyer, who lost to Hilliard Bradley's Ashley Thai 6-2, 6-0 in the first round. Thai finished third.
"Alexia played several great points against Ashley," Kaeding said. "As a freshman, she just did a great job. I couldn't ask for anything more. I'm really looking forward to seeing her next season."
In doubles, senior Olivia Groves and freshman Anna Delaney beat New Albany's Alyssa Seneviratne and Sydney Setnar 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 in the first round before losing 6-3, 6-1 to Watterson's Lauren Ghidotti and Katie Shepherd, who finished third at district and were state runners-up last season.
Olentangy sisters forced to forfeit
Olentangy senior Megan Brdicka and her freshman sister, Brianna, were forced to forfeit their first-round district match against Pickerington Central's Nithya Raya and Kyah Thomas.
"Brianna (had) the flu or something. She had a 104-degree temperature and there was just no way she could compete," coach Jeff Luxenburger said. "Being a senior, Megan was disappointed. Brianna also was upset, but both understand there was nothing either of them could do about it."
Raya and Thomas then lost 6-1, 6-7, 6-3 to Jerome's Eleanor Bullock and Caitlyn Merzbacher, who went on to finish fourth.
"Megan and Brianna would've had to win two really difficult matches to qualify for state," Luxenburger said. "But it was a challenge they were looking forward to, and I really wish they would've gotten the opportunity to go out there and compete."