The Thomas Worthington High School girls tennis team will compete in a Division I sectional tournament Thursday, Oct. 3, and Saturday, Oct. 5, at Reynoldsburg.
The top four finishers in singles and doubles at each sectional advance to district Oct. 11 and 12 at Hilliard Davidson, and the doubles team of junior Elizabeth Chiu and sophomore Marriella Briones might be the Cardinals' best chance of moving on.
Chiu and Briones fell one win shy of reaching district last season. They are seeded fourth and have a first-round bye. They will play either Olentangy Liberty's Avivah Wang and Sidney Reineke or Whitehall's Zi Wong and Angela Li in the second round.
"I think if they play well, they should be able to get to district, although Olentangy Liberty's second doubles team is pretty good," coach David Albert said.
"When we played Liberty earlier this season, Elizabeth and Marriella lost 7-5, 7-6 to their first doubles team (third-seeded Sonia Chhabria and Lizzie Radkiewicz). If they can get past (Wang and Reineke), they should be able to qualify for district."
Junior Molly Maxwell also fell one win short of qualifying for district last year playing doubles with 2013 graduate Achinthya Sivalingam. She is playing doubles again this postseason, teaming with freshman Anastasia Toth. The duo face Lancaster's Jessica Bell and Sara Effinger in the first round.
"They have a winnable first round but would then have to play New Albany's top doubles team (Jane Haffer and Alex Cash)," Albert said. "Anything can happen, but our first goal is for everyone to win their first-round matches."
In first-round singles matches, senior Monica Chang will play Reynoldsburg's Jae Lyn Cheng, senior Nimi Gupta will face Chillicothe's Stacey Lapurga and freshman Claudia Piper will play Lancaster's Elaine King.
"Monica would have a good second-round match likely against Olentangy Liberty's Anna Delaney and her district-qualifying match would likely be against (fourth-seeded) Taylor Sprouse (of Chillicothe)," Albert said. "Claudia has a good draw until facing the third seed (Dresden Tri-Valley's Kristin Dempsey) in her district qualifier, but she could be a surprise pick. If Nimi gets to the district-qualifying round, she would probably play (second-seeded) Alexia Meyer of Olentangy Liberty."
Thomas competed in the fifth-place OCC tournament Sept. 21 at Hilliard Bradley. Representing the OCC-Central, the Cardinals scored 17 points to win the event, finishing ahead of Bradley (14) of the OCC-Cardinal, Lancaster (13) of the OCC-Ohio and Worthington Kilbourne (6) of the OCC-Capital.
"I was really proud of the girls," Albert said. "It was the first time all year that they all played well on the same day. I think it also showed that our division of the OCC is the best in girls tennis."
Wolves ready for sectional tourney
Kilbourne will be competing in the Division I sectional Thursday, Oct. 3, and Saturday, Oct. 5, at Pickerington Central.
Sophomore Erica Chen is seeded fourth in singles and will face the winner of the play-in match between Westerville Central's Autumn Ramsey and DeSales' Maddy Lyons in the first round. Last season, she fell one win shy of qualifying for district.
"Erica is just returning to the lineup because she hurt her knee about three weeks ago," coach Ken Berlin said. "She just got (medically) cleared (Sept. 26) to return and we'll have a few matches to get her ready, but she was playing extremely well before her injury.
"But I think we have a good draw where everyone has a chance to win at least one match. If Erica is playing well, she would be competitive against any of the top seeds. There's not a big gap between the first and fourth seeds."
Also competing in singles are senior Blaire Morrison and junior Vash Desaka. Morrison will play Groveport's Jordan Gilmore in the first round and Desaka will face Hamilton Township's Khloee Rowe in a play-in match, with the winner playing Dublin Coffman's Krissi Tzagournis in the first round.
In the first round in doubles, junior Elizabeth Borchers and sophomore Anna Zellar will play Groveport's Alex Goodwin and Elise Goodwin and senior Marissa Lazaroff and freshman Hannah Kerns will face Centennial's Kayla Allen and Anaya Williams.
"Borchers really stepped up her game and played both singles and doubles while Erica was out," Berlin said. "I think Elizabeth and Anna can get to a district qualifier before playing Pickerington Central's Peyton Klein and Madi Schott (the fourth seed), who played first doubles during the regular season but are seeded behind their teammates who were both singles players (top-seeded Kyah Thomas and Nikkia Thompson)."
Lazaroff and Kerns likely would face the third seed, Gahanna's Emily Merickel and Rachel Zink, in the second round.