Upper Arlington News

Wellington Roundup

Tennis team looking 'to get over the hump'

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JOSHUA A. BICKEL/THISWEEKSPORTS
Wellington's Aashika Katapadi returns the ball during a singles match earlier this season. Katapadi is one of the top returnees for the girls tennis team.
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Second-year Wellington School girls tennis coach Marla Zitelman remains confident in her team despite the fact that it lost six of its first eight matches.

The Jaguars lost three of the matches -- Granville on Aug. 16, Watterson B on Aug. 28 and Worthington Christian on Sept. 3 -- by a 3-2 score. They beat Hilliard Davidson B 4-1 on Aug. 20 and DeSales 3-2 on Sept. 9.

"We're a much better team than our record shows," Zitelman said. "We just need to get over the hump and win these 3-2 matches because that could really improve our record. We're just going to keep working hard to improve with the hope that we'll win that extra court in future matches and have a winning season."

Juniors Aashika Katapadi and Casey Hansen have returned at first and second singles, respectively.

The duo teamed up to play doubles in the postseason last year, placing second in the Division II sectional at Columbus Academy before going 1-1 at district at Columbus School for Girls.

The lineup also includes senior Delaney Perkins at third singles, freshmen Nia Gill and Neelu Paleti at first doubles and senior Gabrielle Berry and junior Rebecca Meeks at second doubles.

Completing the roster are junior Caitie Olberding, sophomore Lucie Kirk and freshmen Janai Appala and Margaret Meeks.

"This team has more of a friend dynamic than past teams because we all hang out with each other more and we really root for each other to do well," Hansen said. "We're all pretty equally skilled, too.

"I definitely think we can win more matches because most of our losses have been decided by long, three-set matches which we could have won."

Boys soccer team out to strong start

It didn't take for the boys soccer team to surpass its win total from a year ago.

Wellington, which finished 4-12-1 last season, is 5-1 after losing to Gahanna Christian 5-0 on Sept. 7.

"We're really young, but our team made a lot of good strides over the summer," coach Michael Byrne said. "We wanted to win at least eight games this season and we're well on our way to surpassing that goal."

The Jaguars allowed just one goal in their first five games, posting shutouts against Grove City Christian (4-0 on Aug. 17), Northside Christian (8-0 on Aug. 27), Marion Pleasant (2-0 on Aug. 29) and Johnstown (2-0 on Sept. 3).

"Our defense has become very strong with the insertion of three players alongside veteran senior captain Nick Hammond and his steady play," Byrne said, referring to senior Chris Jones, junior Mohsen Abdali and freshman Connor Weber.

"Our sophomore goalkeeper, Alex Tannous, is in his second year as a starter and his improvement in confidence is obvious by his coming out more aggressively when needed and being willing to take passes from the defense and redistribute the ball with his feet."

Among the Jaguars' top scorers through five games were midfielder Elliott Fite (3 goals, 7 assists), midfielder Roth Dehlendorf (7 goals), forward Bakari Brown (3 goals, 3 assists), midfielder Teddy Knowles (3 goals, 2 assists) and forward Ben Smith (2 goals, 3 assists).

"We're using a new formation with two forwards and four midfielders and that's freed us up to do a lot more attacking, and we're scoring a lot more goals this season," Byrne said.

Byrne views the Jaguars' win over Johnstown and their game Tuesday, Sept. 17, at Ready as measuring sticks.

"Ready should be a good test for us," he said. "Johnstown was a big test because they were bigger than us and they used their strength and size to put us at a physical disadvantage. But our guys did a great job of keeping their heads and using their skill to pass the ball around their big guys. I want us to continue to build upon this type of teamwork throughout the season."

Perdue leads way for boys golf team

Justin Perdue led the boys golf team in its 172-202, nine-hole win over Village Academy on Sept. 5 at Darby Creek.

The junior was medalist with a 36.

The Jaguars will compete in Grove City's Greyhound Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 14, at Hickory Hills.

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