Pioneers responding after coaching change
The Olentangy Orange High School girls tennis team has been on a roll since losing to New Albany 4-1 on Aug. 20 in its second match of the season.
The Pioneers were 7-2 overall and 4-1 in the OCC-Capital Division before playing Delaware on Sept. 10. They won the Reynoldsburg Doubles Tournament on Sept. 7.
"Winning the doubles tournament without our top two players (senior Anna Sanford and freshman Alle Sanford) proves we are jelling, although we still have improving to do," said first-year coach Matt Rutherford, who took over for Mark Latham on Aug. 19.
Latham, who coached for five seasons, stepped down to take care of his children when his wife's work travel schedule changed.
"Every one of our girls was productive and improved all day long at Reynoldsburg," Rutherford said. "We're building a strong foundation."
Orange defeated DeSales 4-1 in the opener Aug. 19 before losing to New Albany in a league match the next day.
"At first, I didn't like the idea of playing New Albany in our first OCC match," Rutherford said. "But it has worked out well because it was a good barometer for us. We saw where we needed to go, things that we had to work on. We chipped away at those things along the way. The girls have really responded well since then."
In addition to the Sanfords, other top players have been senior Madison Wolfe and juniors Jessica Phelps and Madison Riley.
Orange defeated Watterson 3-2 in a first-round OTCA match Aug. 29 and played Pickerington Central in the second round Sept. 11.
Braves respond to loss to Orange
Olentangy had won six in a row after losing to Orange 5-0 on Aug. 27, as the Braves entered a Sept. 10 match against New Albany at 9-4 overall and 4-1 in the league.
The winning streak began Aug. 28 with a 4-1 decision over Marion Harding and included 5-0 victories over Mount Vernon (Aug. 29), Grove City (Aug. 30), Franklin Heights (Sept. 3) and Hartley (Sept. 4). The Braves then beat Delaware 4-1 on Sept. 5.
Olentangy closes league duals Thursday, Sept. 12, at Worthington Kilbourne.
Entering this week, sophomore Bri Brdicka was 10-3 at first singles. Also in singles, senior Grace Cramer was 9-4, junior Namrata Arya was 6-1 and junior Pallavi Mannava was 4-3.
In doubles, juniors Jackie Vouis and Madison Luse were 8-5 and junior Elyssa Ackerman was 6-4, going 3-3 with Arya and 3-1 with junior Izzy Smith.
Patriots developing strong doubles play
Liberty opened 4-1 and was 6-5 overall after beating Dublin Scioto 5-0 on Sept. 9. The Patriots were 2-2 in the OCC-Central before playing Westland on Sept. 10.
"I think we're developing some real strong doubles teams," coach Christine Kaeding said. "I like to switch lineups all the time depending on our opponents and where we think we can pick up courts. I truly only have one girl settled in the lineup and that's Alexia Myers at first singles.
"I am very happy with the play of the girls, especially Alexia Myers, Anna Delaney, Sonia Chhabria, Lizzie Radkiewicz and Sidney Rieneke. Sidney has been a big, pleasant surprise. She's a freshman who is doing a great job and has a lot of potential and talent. She's got great technique and is fun to watch."