Audrey Berger and Kyra Jung of the Upper Arlington High School girls tennis team don't think they need to have contrasting personalities or skill sets to succeed in doubles.
Berger and Jung, who played first- and second-singles for the Golden Bears during the regular season, were paired for the postseason and have thrived to the point of taking UA back to the Division I state tournament after a one-year absence.
"We play doubles a lot together and we both have good hands at the net. We're both doing pretty good meshing together," said Berger, a junior. "We know how to play doubles the same way. The fact that we're both good doubles players helps us a lot."
Berger and Jung finished third at district Oct. 11 and 12 at Hilliard Davidson as the top four finishers in singles and doubles advanced to state Friday, Oct. 18, at Ohio State and Saturday, Oct. 19, at Davidson. The duo went 3-1 at district, qualifying for state with a 6-4, 6-0 win over New Albany's Alyssa Seneviratne and Sydney Setnar.
Berger and Jung lost to Olentangy Orange's Alle Sanford and Anna Sanford 6-1, 6-2 in a semifinal but rebounded to defeat New Albany's Alex Cash and Jane Haffer 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 in the third-place match.
No Bears qualified for state last year for the first time since 1992.
Jung, one of two freshmen on varsity this year with Anna-Marie Reynolds, said she still has to shake off nerves competing against girls two or three years older than her.
"I always get a little tight because this is my first year, but Audrey's been keeping me pumped up and feeling good," Jung said. "(The match against Seneviratne and Setnar) was tight in the first set, we didn't make our shots, but we got back and they sort of broke down."
Senior Beniva Ganther and Reynolds came within one win of joining Berger and Jung at state in doubles. They went 1-1, losing to Pickerington Central's Isis Thomas and Kyah Thomas 6-3, 7-5 in a state-qualifying match.
Sophomore Olivia Kompa fell just short of advancing in singles, going 1-1 and losing to Dublin Jerome's Eleanor Bullock 6-2, 6-3 in a state-qualifying match.
"The younger girls have molded into our team well," Berger said. "They've been very important this year."
Girls runners win league championship
Sophomore Ann Heuerman of the girls cross country team posted the fastest time of the year in the area Oct. 12, winning the OCC-Central Division meet at Hilliard Darby in 18 minutes, 8.68 seconds.
UA won the league championship with 39 points. Thomas Worthington (51) was second, followed by Hilliard Davidson (59), Olentangy Liberty (88), Dublin Coffman (119), Westland (203), Marysville (210) and Central Crossing (228).
Also competing for the Bears were senior Dorrian Jaffe (third, 18:25.45), junior Megan Brewer (seventh, 18:54.22), freshman Elisabeth Barbour (10th, 19:18.08), senior Karla Jeggle (18th, 19:34.07), senior Sarah Heuerman (21st, 19:49.17) and junior Erin Simko (24th, 20:05.03).
Led by sophomore Ian Hamilton, the boys team placed sixth (167) in the league meet, behind Davidson (34), Coffman (58), Liberty (58), Thomas (93) and Marysville (154) and ahead of Central Crossing (214) and Westland (215).
Hamilton placed 24th (16:33.08), followed by sophomore Nicholas Gill (35th, 17:11.51), junior Payton Warner (41st, 17:18.6), freshman Trent Popovich (42nd, 17:23.58), freshman Andrew Harper (45th, 17:33.62), sophomore Jurgan Wilkes (48th, 17:35.94) and junior Nar Wang (51st, 17:40.45).
Both teams will compete in the Division I, district 3 meet Saturday, Oct. 19, at Watkins Memorial. The top six teams and top 24 individuals advance to regional Oct. 26 at Pickerington North.
Football team gets set for Monarchs
A 21-0 loss to Davidson on Oct. 11 dropped the football team to 3-4 overall and 2-2 in the OCC-Central entering a home game against Marysville on Friday, Oct. 18.
UA, whose defense held Davidson scoreless in the first half and limited the Wildcats' offense to two touchdowns, will need another such defensive performance to contain Marysville's spread offense.
The Monarchs are led by senior quarterback Matt Mulholland, who is 120-for-225 passing for 1,425 yards, 12 touchdowns and nine interceptions. His top targets include seniors Noah Arbohgast and Logan Roston.
Marysville improved to 6-1 overall and 3-1 in the OCC-Central with a 24-17 win at Thomas Worthington on Oct. 11. Its only loss was to Coffman, 31-28 on Sept. 27.
Davidson intercepted junior quarterback Kyle Kaparos six times, including a 33-yard return for a touchdown by Markus Bailey in the third quarter. The Bears outgained the Wildcats in total yards, 226-213, and held them to two first downs in the first half.
Davidson improved to 7-0 and 4-0.
Girls soccer team set to face Eagles
According to girls soccer coach Mark Wise, a scoreless tie at Coffman on Oct. 8 might have turned more heads than it should have.
Coffman won the OCC-Central title at 6-0-1 and enters the Division I district tournament as the top seed with an 11-1-3 overall record.
"To anybody who has watched our program for a while now, it should be no surprise," Wise said. "We've been in games and playing hard the past few weeks. They've been stronger every game and, against Coffman, they played out of their minds. We only allowed one shot on goal. Their only real opportunities were on corner kicks, and we were able to stop those."
Junior midfielder Maddie Miller had a three-goal game Oct. 12 in the regular-season finale, a 5-0 win over Chillicothe Zane Trace.
The Bears, who are 7-7-2 overall and finished 2-3-2 in the OCC-Central, are seeded 17th in the district and open the tournament in the second round Thursday, Oct. 17, at sixth-seeded Watterson. Both teams had a first-round bye.
UA did not play Watterson during the regular season.
The second-round winner will play 13th-seeded Westerville South, 16th-seeded New Albany or 31st-seeded Newark in a district semifinal Tuesday, Oct. 22, at the home of the higher seed. The Bears lost to New Albany 3-2 on Aug. 20 in their season opener.
Boys soccer team has first-round bye
All but one of the boys soccer team's eight regular-season wins were by shutout, a trend coach Mic Rogers would be happy to see continue in the postseason.
"The guys know if we shut out the other team, our chances of winning increase greatly, and our defense has done an excellent job more often than not," Rogers said, citing the strong play of sophomore goalkeeper Will Collis and senior defender Sean Garrett. "We're establishing more consistency than we had earlier in the season. We've had a few unlucky results. I'm still trying to put my finger on exactly what makes us play the best we can."
UA, which is 8-7-1 overall and finished 4-3 in the OCC-Central, is seeded 13th of 45 teams in the Division I district tournament and took a first-round bye. The Bears will play host to 17th-seeded Dublin Jerome or 35th-seeded Walnut Ridge in the second round Saturday, Oct. 19.
The second-round winner will play fourth-seeded Hilliard Bradley, 18th-seeded Dublin Scioto or 40th-seeded Whetstone in a district semifinal Wednesday, Oct. 23, at the home of the higher seed.
UA lost to Jerome 1-0 on Sept. 5 and lost to Bradley 3-1 on Oct. 3.
Field hockey team ready for tourney
The field hockey team got a preview of its district tournament opener Oct. 9 when it lost to Bexley 2-0.
Seeded eighth, the Bears will travel to third-seeded Bexley for a first-round game Thursday, Oct. 17, with the winner playing host to fifth-seeded Coffman, sixth-seeded Watterson or 11th-seeded New Albany in a district semifinal Tuesday, Oct. 22. The semifinal winner will advance to a district final Oct. 26 at Jerome.
"I'm excited to play Bexley again and so are the girls," coach Kelly Roderick said. "The regular-season game against them was fast, aggressive and a really great showcase of the talent on both teams. ... You just never know what's going to happen."
Junior goalie Alee Caldwell had 13 saves against Bexley.
UA ended the regular season with a 2-1 loss to Worthington Kilbourne on Oct. 11 to fall to 9-5-1 overall. The Bears finished 5-2-1 in the COFHL-West.
Boys golfers wanted more from season
Boys golf coach Ron Mautz offered constructive criticism during season-ending meetings with his players last week.
Despite his top two golfers consistently shooting in the 70s, UA fell short of qualifying for the Division I state tournament. The Bears shot a 315 and placed sixth at district Oct. 8 at Apple Valley, finishing seven shots and three spots shy of the third and final state-qualifying berth, as Jerome (299), Pickerington North (305) and New Albany (308) advanced to state Friday, Oct. 18, and Saturday, Oct. 19, at Ohio State's Scarlet Course.
Junior Seth Brenneman led the Bears at district with a 76, finishing two strokes behind the third and final individual state qualifier. Junior Justin Wick was next for UA with a 79, followed by senior Drew Scott (80) and juniors Jacob Glaser (81) and Austin Serif (82).
"I knew once we had a 315 it was going to take a small miracle with good teams collapsing for us to get out," Mautz said. "We only had two returning guys (Brenneman and Wick) and three guys who hadn't play varsity A golf, but those are excuses. We weren't always at the level we needed to be at the right time. All of our guys showed lots of talent this year, but they also had trouble being consistent. That's something we have to work on changing."
Wick led the Bears with a 75.5 average, just ahead of Brenneman (76.7). UA finished 218-59 overall and went 23-5 in the four-round OCC-Central tournament to place second, behind Coffman (28-0) and ahead of Liberty (19-9), Marysville (15-13), Davidson (13-15), Thomas (10-18), Central Crossing (4-24), and Westland (0-28).
Brenneman shot a 72 and Wick carded a 73 in the 13-team sectional Oct. 1 at Granville Golf Course, as UA finished third (304) behind Jerome (300) and St. Charles (301) to secure the final district-qualifying spot.
Girls golfers' season ends at district
The final shot of the girls golf team's season was a putt of more than 20 feet drained by Leah Mills on No. 18 at The Links of Groveport in the Division I district tournament Oct. 8.
It left coach Kristi Ghidotti bittersweet about the fact that she will be losing Mills, the team's only senior, to graduation. At the same time, she is encouraged that the rest of her top five is expected to return next year.
Mills shot an 85 at district, as the Bears finished ninth (392) behind state-qualifiers Coffman (300) and Jerome (308), as the top two teams and top two individuals not on qualifying teams advanced to state Friday, Oct. 18, and Saturday, Oct. 19, at Ohio State's Gray Course.
Also competing at district for UA were freshman Sophia Hemleben (95) and sophomores Alex Ventresca (102), Ailsa Heckscher (110) and Kelli Kahle (110).
"Most of these girls never experienced (the postseason) until (district)," Ghidotti said. "It's a very positive, very unique experience for them to be part of it and come back next year and have that experience behind us. That's what we were striving for."
Mills finished with a team-best 85 average, followed by Hemleben (92) and Kahle (98).
UA went 18-10 in the four-round OCC-Ohio tournament to place third, behind Pickerington North (28-0) and Thomas Worthington (20-8) and ahead of Canal Winchester (16-12), Davidson (15-13), Gahanna (11-17), Lancaster (3-25) and Darby (1-27).
UA finished second (352) behind Pickerington North (338) in an 11-team sectional Oct. 1 at Westchester to advance to district.
Volleyball season ends with sweep
The girls volleyball team's season came to an end Oct. 14 with a 25-17, 25-16, 27-25 loss at fourth-seeded Grove City in the first round of the Division I district tournament.
UA, which was seeded 36th, lost its final 13 matches and finished 2-20 overall and 1-13 in the OCC-Central.