Thus far, the first venture together on the tennis court has been a successful one for Vishnu Bodavula and Adithya Nair of the Olentangy Liberty High School boys team.

After receiving the fourth seed in doubles for a Division I sectional tournament May 10 and 12 at Pickerington Central, the duo surpassed their seeding by finishing third.

They’ll open the district tournament Thursday, May 17, at Hilliard Bradley against Upper Arlington’s Paige Kompa and Nathan Yu and would need to win two matches to qualify for state May 25 and 26 at Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason. The district semifinals and finals will be played Saturday, May 19, at UA.

“Vishnu’s a really strong player,” Nair said. “I feel like Vishnu gets hyped when we’re out there and I have a great time playing with him.”

Bodavula is a freshman who played first singles much of this season before being paired with Nair, a senior who has played mostly doubles the last two seasons.

Last season, Nair teamed with 2017 graduate Hoang Do to reach the district tournament, where they lost in the first round.

Bodavula and Nair took a test run together May 8 when they beat Central’s Leyton Mathias and Jeremy Oconer 6-7, 6-2, 7-5.

After losing to eventual sectional champions Jack Dabek and Reese Yakubov of St. Charles 6-2, 6-0 in a semifinal May 12, they ended up with a rematch against Mathias and Oconer later that day and won 6-0, 6-1 to place third.

“I feel like we’re pretty positive on the court and between points we talk to each other,” Bodavula said. “Adithya’s stronger at the net and I’m stronger on the baseline. I’m happy to have this opportunity.”

The key for the duo to have success at district is “really honing in on moving forward and taking the ball early,” Nair said.

“They make a good team,” coach Josh Matusky said. “They work well together and got a really good draw (for the sectional). Adithya plays really well at the net. Vishnu has good ground strokes. They just work together really well and have good fight in them.”

Also at sectional in doubles, senior Samanyu Das and freshman Arvind Nair lost in the first round.

In singles, senior K.J. Lawal lost in the second round and sophomores Marcelo Aguilar and Tarun Nandakumar lost in the first round.

Girls lacrosse team surges into tourney

The second-seeded girls lacrosse team beat 12th-seeded Westerville Central 20-3 on May 14 in the first round of the Division I, Region 1 tournament at home.

The Patriots play host to fifth-seeded Orange on Friday, May 18, in a regional quarterfinal, with the winner to play host to third-seeded Olentangy or fourth-seeded Medina on Monday, May 21, in a regional semifinal.

The regional final is May 24.

Liberty is 14-2 and has won 12 in a row, including beating Orange 19-3 on April 17 and Olentangy 19-18 on May 1.

The Patriots beat Medina 18-12 on May 10 and Cincinnati Sycamore 20-10 on May 12 to close the regular season. They lost their only regular-season games to New Albany (15-9 on April 5) and Upper Arlington (19-7 on April 7).

New Albany is the top seed for the Region 1 tournament and could be the opponent if Liberty reaches a regional final.

“They’ve got some good games under their belts and some super wins that mentally pulled them out of a hole,” coach Nicole Stines said. “They’re really just starting to fight back in the second half and are just realizing they can dig out of the hole, so it’s been really fun to see.”

Against Sycamore, Madison Rapier and Molly Bursinger each scored seven goals and Mollie McCormack had four goals.

Girls track team captures league title

With 146 points, the girls track and field team won the OCC-Buckeye title May 12 as Westerville Central (135) and host Orange (126) took the next two spots.

The Patriots are competing in the Division I, district 3 meet, which began May 16, continues Thursday, May 17, and concludes Saturday, May 19, at Hilliard Darby. The top four finishers in each event advance to the regional Wednesday, May 23, and May 25 at Pickerington North.

“We got a lot of seconds, thirds and fourths (in the league meet), which is good,” coach James Dingus said. “We’ve been doing really well.”

Carrie Lawal won the 200 meters (25.73 seconds) and was third in the 100 (12.49), Nicole Tonetti won the long jump (17 feet, 1/2 inch), Gracie Sprankle was first in the 3,200 (11:13.15) and second in the 1,600 (5:06.95) and the 800 relay of Jessica Barna, Sydney Reed, Tonetti and Brea White also was first (1:45.59).

Sydney Englehart was runner-up in the 400 (59.0) and third in the long jump (16-7 1/4), and Emma Bower was runner-up in the 3,200 (11:22.57) and third in the 1,600 (5:14.73).

Also placing second were Kelsey Mockler in the 100 hurdles (15.86), Mollie Kunar in the shot put (37-3) and the 3,200 relay of Bower, Linnea Kunesh, Audrey Piero and Sprankle (9:47.22).

Finishing third were Emily Williams in the pole vault (9-6), the 400 relay of Lawal, Sienna Sakich, Lauren Walsh and White (49.38) and the 1,600 relay of Barna, Grace Linscott, Jenna Martz and Sydney Petz (4:19.6).

Boys track team begins postseason

The boys track team also is competing in the district 3 meet.

In the OCC-Buckeye meet, the Patriots scored 71.5 points to finish third behind Orange (195.5) and Central (99).

Luke Bendick won the pole vault (14-6). His brother, Andrew Bendick, is one of the team’s top sprinters but did not compete so that he’d be healthier for the postseason.

Earning runner-up finishes were Joseph Johnson in the 800 (1:58.44), the 400 relay of Aidan McClure, Mehul Hatwar, Gavin Smith and Ubby Suligavi (43.58) and the 800 relay of McClure, Hatwar, Matthew Onate and Suligavi (1:31.19).

The 3,200 relay of Johnson, Drew Folwarczny, Adam Clark and Will Koberna placed third (8:12.69).

Baseball team makes district semifinal

The top-seeded baseball team played 23rd-seeded Orange on May 15 in a Division I district semifinal at Ohio Wesleyan.

The winner plays third-seeded Grove City or 16th-seeded Marysville in a district final Thursday, May 17, at a site to be announced.

The district champion plays Upper Arlington, Lancaster, Dublin Jerome or Gahanna in a regional semifinal May 24 at Dublin Coffman.

The Patriots opened the district tournament May 9 by beating 31st-seeded Westerville North 13-2 in a second-round home game.

Mitchell Okuley, Corbin Parrish, Craig Lutwen and Connor Osmond all had two hits in support of starting pitcher Mitch Milheim, who gave up two runs and five hits while striking out five in four innings.

Then on May 11, the Patriots beat Olentangy 10-0 as Parrish had two hits and Justin Nelson was 2-for-3 with three RBI. Brennan Rowe pitched four innings, Jack Metzger pitched 1 2/3 and Beau Foster pitched 1 1/3 in a combined four-hitter as the Patriots improved to 24-4 overall and finished 14-1 in the OCC-Buckeye.

Boys lacrosse team begins tourney play

The second-seeded boys lacrosse team opened the Division I, Region 1 tournament May 15 at home against 13th-seeded Dublin Scioto.

The winner plays host to seventh-seeded Medina or eighth-seeded Orange on Friday, May 18, in a regional quarterfinal, with the winner to play host to third-seeded Olentangy, fifth-seeded Whitehouse Anthony Wayne, ninth-seeded Perrysburg or 10th-seeded Strongsville on Tuesday, May 22. The regional final is May 25.

The Patriots lost three of their final five of the regular season, including to Olentangy 12-11 on May 1 and New Albany 7-6 on May 11 to finish third (5-2) in the OCC-Buckeye behind the Braves (7-0) and Eagles (6-1).

Liberty beat Orange 9-4 on April 17.

Johnny Wiseman scored nine goals in a 22-5 victory over Westerville Central on May 8.

Volleyball team preps for tourney

The boys volleyball team is seeded seventh for the Division I East Region tournament and plays 12th-seeded Coffman in a second-round match Saturday, May 19, at Olentangy.

The winner plays sixth-seeded Gahanna, 13th-seeded Thomas Worthington or 15th-seeded Pickerington Central in a regional semifinal Tuesday, May 22, at Olentangy. The regional final is May 25 at Westerville Central.

The Patriots lost to Mount Vernon 25-21, 25-19, 25-14 on May 8 and to Hilliard Davidson 25-16, 25-16, 25-14 on May 11 and will take an 11-6 record into the postseason.

Strong nucleus to return in softball

Its top two pitchers and top three hitters are among those eligible to return for the softball team, which lost 9-4 on May 9 at 18th-seeded Reynoldsburg in the second round of the Division I district tournament to finish 10-13 overall.

The Patriots, who were seeded 22nd and had a first-round bye, went 5-5 in the OCC-Buckeye to finish third behind Olentangy (8-2) and Westerville Central (7-3) and ahead of Westerville North (4-6), Orange (3-7) and Westerville South (3-7).

The five-member senior class was led by center fielder Lillee LaRosa, who hit .294 with 13 RBI.

The Patriots played all season without shortstop Kennedy Kashmiry, who was out with an injury.

“It was obviously tough when we lost Kennedy, who was one of our seniors and a captain for two years, but she was there every step of the way, and the (seniors) we had playing did a great job,” coach Cari DeAngelis said. “It’ll be sad to see them go.”

Junior catcher Arica Flaugher led the Patriots in home runs (9), RBI (26) and batting average (.443) and also scored 19 runs.

Sophomore Kaitlyn Leary (P/1B) went 6-10 with a 3.38 ERA and 66 strikeouts in 103 2/3 innings, and junior Katelyn Wilhelm (P) was 4-3 with a 1.68 ERA and two saves with 90 strikeouts in 54 1/3 innings.

Freshman outfielder Dani Schoenly hit .380 with seven home runs and 14 RBI and led the Patriots in runs with 22. Junior shortstop Sammy Leonhardt batted .297 with 16 runs.

Junior infielder Lindsay Aninao hit .279 with 10 RBI.

Also eligible to return are juniors Sydney Lane (3B/1B) and Lauren Pomorski (2B) and sophomore Lexi Byrd (1B).

“We’ve got a great-looking team (coming back),” DeAngelis said. “We had some girls that were in positions they had to get used to at the beginning of the year because we dealt with some injuries, but nobody complained. I love that mentality.”

julrey@thisweeknews.com

@UlreyThisWeek