The Olentangy Liberty High School boys tennis team isn't projected to have any Division I district qualifiers this spring, but coach Steve Sisko isn't ready to count out the doubles team of Kyle Flahive and Alex Heydorn.
The Patriots will compete in the sectional tournament Thursday, May 16, and Saturday, May 18, at Upper Arlington and don't have any players seeded in the top four. The top four finishers in singles and doubles advance to the district tournament May 24 and 25 at Hilliard Davidson.
Flahive and Heydorn will need to win three matches to qualify for district and could face the third seed, Dublin Scioto's Hemant Reddy and Arjun Venkataraman, in their third match.
"If Kyle and Alex play well, they've got a good shot at making it to district," Sisko said. "They need to be aggressive and control the net and they need to keep the ball in play. If they do those things, they can compete with, if not beat, the other teams in their bracket."
Liberty was 6-10 overall after losing 3-2 to Wellington May 13 and went 3-4 in OCC-Central Division dual matches. The Patriots concluded the league tournament May 11 at UA with 42 points to place fourth, behind UA (81, 7-0), Dublin Coffman (63, 6-1) and Davidson (63, 5-2) and ahead of Thomas Worthington (36, 3-4), Marysville (33, 3-4), Central Crossing (12, 1-6) and Westland (0, 0-7).
Flahive went 2-1 and placed third at first singles and Heydorn and Hemanth Kovalla went 2-1 and placed third at first doubles.
"I'm very satisfied with my performance," Flahive said. "I think I played very well. I went in with a good attitude and kept my composure.
"Alex and I are very excited about playing doubles together at sectional. We need to communicate and keep good vibes between us."
Going 1-2 and placing fourth in the league tournament were Andrew Topinka (second singles) and Sayantan Basu (third singles). E.J. Sidhu and Mohit Daga went 2-1 and placed fifth at second doubles.
"I think our whole team played well," Sisko said. "Kyle had a great tournament, especially playing against the competition he had here at first singles."
Braves finish second in OCC-Capital
Olentangy will compete in the Division I sectional Thursday, May 16, and Saturday, May 18, at Reynoldsburg, where Austin Karbler is seeded second in singles.
"Austin just needs to play his game," coach Jeff Luxenburger said. "He's so good at getting the ball back and forcing opponents to make mistakes, and I hope he can keep that up even though he's going to play some tough competition there."
Olentangy finished 16-2 overall and went 6-1 in OCC-Capital dual matches. The Braves concluded the league tournament May 11 at home with 55 points to place second, behind New Albany (82, 7-0) and ahead of Orange (53, 5-2), Big Walnut (35, 3-4), Delaware (35, 3-4), Watkins Memorial (35, 3-4), Mount Vernon (16, 1-6) and Franklin Heights (2, 0-7).
Going 2-1 and placing second were Karbler (first singles), Kevin Miller (second singles) and Arun Esakkirajmohan (third singles). Matt Dean and Huzaifa Doctor went 2-1 and finished third at second doubles, and Logan Smith and Zoheb Memon went 2-1 and placed fifth at first doubles.
"This was a fantastic experience and our kids played great," Luxenburger said. "All of our singles players finished second behind New Albany, which was as good as can be expected. Our team made a big improvement over last season when we finished seventh in (the OCC-Cardinal)."
Pioneers set for sectional tourney
Orange will compete in the Division I sectional Thursday, May 16, and Saturday, May 18, at Davidson.
In the OCC-Capital tournament, going 2-1 and placing second were Stephen Spezzano and Kaleb Kok at first doubles and Ryan Jay and Rahm Zilkhu at second doubles.
Tim Hawk went 2-1 and placed third at first singles, Sahil Shah went 1-2 and finished fourth at third singles and Michael Kunchal went 1-2 and placed sixth at second singles.
The Pioneers were 6-11 overall before playing Village Academy on May 13.