The Dublin Jerome High School girls tennis team is headed to its fourth consecutive state team tournament.
With a 3-1 victory over visiting Olentangy Liberty on Oct. 10 in a Division I district final of the Ohio Tennis Coaches Association team event, the Celtics advanced to a state semifinal Oct. 22 at Reynoldsburg.
After winning back-to-back titles in 2014 and ’15, Jerome was third at state last season.
The Celtics also beat the Patriots 3-1 in a district final a year ago.
“I love the chemistry on this team,” senior Vicki Chang said. “It’s been so fun to be back this year.”
Chang, who missed last season with injuries, sealed the win for the Celtics with a 6-3, 7-5 victory over Liberty freshman Maddie Atway at first singles.
During the second set, Atway broke Chang’s serve to tie it at 5, but Chang responded by breaking Atway’s serve and then served out the match.
“It’s being able to win the mental battles and being able to come back,” Jerome coach Ken Berlin said. “I’ve been preaching resiliency all year.”
Also winning for Jerome were junior Reagan Resor and sophomore Katherine Wang, who beat Liberty senior Cellini Ko and junior Anna Gardner 6-0, 6-2 at first doubles, and junior Erin Zhao and senior Neha Dudipala, who defeated juniors Lexie Brengartner and Ellie MacDowell 6-2, 7-6 (11-9) at second doubles.
Zhao and Dudipala led the second set 5-2, fell behind 6-5 and then held off two set points before pulling out the match.
Liberty senior Lexi Steer beat senior Jiaqi Liu 6-1, 6-2 at third singles, and Patriots freshman Dani Schoenly was leading freshman Arya Dudipala 6-4, 5-2 at second singles when Chang’s win finished off the victory for Jerome.
“We’re just proud of all the girls,” Liberty assistant coach Geoff Bibo said. “It was great competition.”