After being a starter at Worthington Christian as a freshman two years ago, Ben Benalcazar found himself on the sidelines last year with the Upper Arlington High School boys tennis team.

After being a starter at Worthington Christian as a freshman two years ago, Ben Benalcazar found himself on the sidelines last year with the Upper Arlington High School boys tennis team.

He's off to a good start this year, as he was 8-2 playing most second singles after taking second in singles at the Worthington Cup last Saturday at Worthington Kilbourne. He lost to Kilbourne's Kevin Metka 6-1, 6-0 in the final.

Benalcazar transferred from Worthington Christian during the 2007-08 school year and was not eligible to play last season, UA coach Amos Allison said.

"It was hard to not to get a chance to play last year, but it's definitely fueled my fire for this season," said Benalcazar, whose other loss was to Olentangy Liberty's Alex Solove 6-2, 6-0 on April 22. "Playing second singles has given me a chance."

Billy Weldon and James Melvin also competed last Saturday and were were fifth in doubles after defeating Solove and Liberty teammate Scott Miller 8-4. UA totaled 11 points to finish behind Kilbourne (15) and ahead of Watterson (10), Bexley (10), Hilliard Davidson (9), Liberty (7), St. Charles (7) and Thomas Worthington (5).

After winning the first game in the final, Benalcazar never was able to get on track against Metka, who won for the second year in a row.

"The first two matches went well, but in the final I didn't deal with the wind too well," Benalcazar said. "You have to be more careful with your placement of the ball."

Allison said all three of his entrants struggled with the wind.

"In that first doubles match, we played (Watterson's Philip Diaz and Chris Diaz), the defending Division I state champions," Allison said. "We didn't put the ball in play as much as we could have. I think we were a little rusty there."

Allison said that had Benalcazar been eligible, he probably could've cracked the lineup, but events like the Worthington Cup and a demanding schedule have helped Benalcazar get ready for playing the top players around. Allison has been impressed with Benalcazar's work ethic.

"It was good for him to see these type of kids," Allison said. "He's one of these first-one-in, last-one-to-leave type of guys. He wants the competition. This year he wants to play every match. It doesn't matter who he's playing against."

At a glance

Below are the recent results and coming schedule for Upper Arlington boys tennis team:

April 13 -- Match vs. New Albany postponed. No makeup date has been announced.

April 15 -- Match at Columbus Academy postponed. No makeup date has been announced.

*April 16 -- Defeated Worthington Kilbourne 4-1

April 17 -- Def. Shaker Heights 4-1

*April 21 -- Match vs. Central Crossing postponed. No makeup date has been announced.

April 22 -- Def. Olentangy Liberty 3-2

*April 23 -- Def. Westland 5-0

Last Saturday -- Finished second (11) behind Worthington Kilbourne (15) in eight-team Worthington Cup

*Last Monday -- Def. Hilliard Darby 5-0

*Last Tuesday -- Played Hilliard Davidson

*Tuesday -- At Dublin Coffman

Wednesday -- At Watterson

May 7 -- At DeSales

Of note: The Bears were 7-0 overall and 4-0 in OCC-Central before last Tuesday

*OCC-Central match