The lone senior for the Olentangy Orange High School girls tennis program, Livie Mauger didn't start playing until the seventh grade because of her passion for dancing.
Once tennis became her activity of choice, she quickly found out her on-court rhythm needed work.
"My (tennis) coach, Doug DiRosario, would tell me when I first started (playing) to stop dancing (on the court) because I wasn't a ballerina," Mauger said. "I was so still on the serve and pretty stiff in general. The flexibility from dance can help, but you have to be tight when you are dancing and hold things in. You don't want to be stiff when you play tennis."
The Pioneers defeated Westerville South 5-0 on Sept. 28 to clinch at least a share of their first league title since winning the OCC-Capital Division in 2015. Orange then defeated Westerville North 5-0 on Oct. 1 to finish 5-0 and win the OCC-Buckeye title outright.
"It's definitely emotional (being the only senior) because I love everyone on the team," Mauger said. "It was so different when I was a freshman because we had so many seniors, and then when I was a sophomore, we had so many freshmen that it was like having a new team. We have all blended so well together and it will be sad leaving that behind. I feel like I'm leaving a family, but they will have a lot of talent back next year."
Mauger has played doubles the last two seasons and will be paired with sophomore Caroline Sproule in the postseason. They are seeded second in a Division I sectional Thursday, Oct. 4, and Saturday, Oct. 6, at Pickerington Central behind teammates Kortney Reed and Erin Storrer.
The top four finishers in singles and doubles advance to district Oct. 11 and 13 at Reynoldsburg.
"Livie is my right-hand man," said coach Susan Storrer, whose team was 12-2 overall after defeating North. "She helps me with a lot of the details. She's positive, and she's a hard worker. She has improved a lot and is a great leader.
"She moved to doubles and really worked on her volleys and doubles movement. She knows where to hit, where to move and has improved her volleys. She really has improved going to the net and putting the points away."
Mauger has made the most of her move to doubles.
"I initially fell in love with singles," she said. "When I made the move (as a junior), I thought I would miss singles, but I learned a lot. (Doubles) taught me how to motivate people and I learned how other people could pick me up. In singles, you have to motivate yourself.
"I also have become more comfortable at the net. I didn't used to like that and I worked on being more of a net player."
Mauger said tennis has become a family affair. Her parents, Christian and Stephanie, also play, as does her sophomore sister, Julia, who is a member of the program.
Mauger would like to play tennis in college. She has a 4.3 GPA but likely would play club tennis if she selects a Division I school.
"I was a serious competitor in jazz and ballet, but I'm glad I started playing tennis," she said. "It has become a way for our family to stay closer. I'm not ready to give up tennis, so I'll continue to play in one form or another, whether it's club or whatever."
Golf teams open postseason play
The boys and girls golf teams began the postseason Oct. 2 with Division I sectional tournaments.
The boys competed at Denison Golf Club, where the top four teams and top four individuals not on qualifying teams advanced to district Tuesday, Oct. 9, at Apple Valley.
At district, the top two teams and top two individuals not on those teams qualify for state Oct. 19 and 20 at Ohio State's Scarlet Course.
The Pioneers won the 18-team OCC Shootout on Sept. 24 at Moundbuilders with a 307, ahead of runner-up Pickerington North (311). Nathan Brown and Jake Smith both shot 73 to lead Orange.
The girls played in a sectional at Royal American, where the top three teams and top three individuals not on qualifying teams advanced to district Tuesday, Oct. 9, at Cooks Creek.
At district, the top two teams and top two players not on those teams qualify for state Oct. 19 and 20 at Ohio State's Gray Course.
Last fall, Orange shot 304 at district to qualify for state along with runner-up Dublin Jerome (307). The Pioneers' Ashley Au was co-medalist, tying Gahanna's Kayla Davis as both shot 71.
The girls also compete Saturday, Oct. 6, in the Pickerington North Fall Classic at Cooks Creek.
Volleyball team falls to Liberty
The girls volleyball team has an uphill battle if it is to win its fourth consecutive league title.
The Pioneers lost to Liberty 20-25, 25-19, 30-28, 25-20 on Sept. 27 to fall to 12-5 overall and 4-2 in the OCC-Buckeye before playing Westerville Central on Oct. 2. Liberty was 6-0 in the league before playing South on Oct. 2.
Through 17 matches, outside hitter London Davis led the team with 107 kills and middle blocker Sydney Gossard had a team-high 36 blocks with 70 kills. Setter Hanna Borer led in assists (306) and aces (22) and had 92 digs, and defensive specialist Addie Evans had a team-high 109 digs with 20 aces.
Outside hitter Taylor Metzler had 70 kills, and defensive specialist Madison Moll had 58 kills and 27 blocks. Defensive specialist Mya Hendricks had 83 digs and 16 aces, and middle blocker Tazmin Appiah had 26 blocks.
Below are the coming schedules for the Orange cross country, field hockey, boys soccer, girls soccer and girls volleyball teams:
Oct. 6 -- Les Eisenhart Invitational at Thomas Worthington
Oct. 4 -- Home vs. Columbus Academy
Oct. 6 -- Home vs. Kettering Fairmont
*Oct. 8 -- At Dublin Scioto
Oct. 10 -- Home vs. Granville
*Oct. 9 -- Home vs. Westerville North
Oct. 6 -- Home vs. Canal Winchester
*Oct. 9 -- At North
*Oct. 4 -- Home vs. Westerville South. The Pioneers defeated the Wildcats 25-16, 25-12, 25-19 on Sept. 13.
Oct. 6 -- At Toledo St. Ursula
*Oct. 9 -- Home vs. Olentangy. The Pioneers defeated the Braves 25-21, 25-13, 27-25 on Sept. 20.