The Dublin Jerome High School girls tennis team capped a remarkable season with two more major accomplishments last weekend.

The Dublin Jerome High School girls tennis team capped a remarkable season with two more major accomplishments last weekend.

The doubles team of juniors Lauren Bellinger and Sarah Stein went 4-0 in the Division I state tournament on Oct. 21 and 22 at Elysium Tennis Center in Plain City to capture their first state championship.

And on Oct. 23 at Hilliard Davidson, the Celtics beat Toledo Notre Dame Academy 3-0 in a state semifinal and defeated Cincinnati Ursuline Academy 3-1 in the final to win their first OTCA state tournament title and finish 22-0 in dual matches.

"I can't think of a better way to finish our season than how we did this weekend," coach Tyler Stephen said. "We won every one of our 22 dual matches, and we lost only three courts in those 22 dual matches.

"I don't think I've seen a team in high school tennis that's been as dominant as this group. This is the best team in the state, and I'd put our girls up against any other girls team in state history."

Bellinger and Stein opened the state tournament with a 6-0, 6-1 win over Cincinnati Ursuline Academy's Kristen Behrens and Grace Kallenberg and defeated Chagrin Falls Kenston's Natasha Birze and Mandy Marchant 6-3, 7-6 (7-2) in the second round.

In a semifinal, Bellinger and Stein rallied from a 4-0 deficit in the first set to beat Upper Arlington's Elaine Cloern and Audrey Berger 7-5, 6-2. They then rallied to defeat Watterson's Lauren Ghidotti and Katie Shepherd 0-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7-4) in the final.

"I can't speak for Sarah, but that was the most exciting match of my career," Bellinger said. "Lauren and Katie are from Dublin, and they train at the same place and work with the same people we work with. We're good friends with them and we know each other's game so well, so every point was tough to win."

Bellinger and Stein became the first doubles team in the state tournament's 36-year history to win a final after losing the first set 6-0.

They gradually played more aggressively at the net as the match progressed and won a long multiple-deuce first game en route to winning the second set. They then jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the third set before Ghidotti and Shepherd rallied to tie the set at 5 and then 6 to force a tiebreaker.

After the tiebreaker was tied at 2, Bellinger and Stein took a 4-2 lead on the way to beating the Watterson duo for the fifth time in two seasons.

Bellinger and Stein became the third Jerome duo to win a state doubles title, following sisters Carline and Elizabeth Farrar, who won the Division II championship in 2004, and Jessica Easdale and Kathryn Farrar, who won the Division I championship in 2007.

"(Ghidotti and Shepherd) played amazing tennis in the first set, but both of us together are mentally strong and we kept fighting," Bellinger said. "After we won that marathon first game in the second set, we started believing more and more that we were going to win the match, and we found a way to win the big points when we needed to."

Freshman Emma Stein went 1-1, beating Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit junior Katelyn Hissong 7-5, 7-5 and losing to the eventual champion in Cincinnati Ursuline Academy sophomore Mehvish Safdar 6-1, 6-1.

"Emma played great all year and she just ran into a more experienced player in the second round," Stephen said.

In the win over Notre Dame Academy in the OTCA tournament, Sarah Stein won at second singles, Emma Stein won at third singles and Caitlyn Merzbacher and Maddy Easdale won at second doubles.

Against Ursuline Academy, Sarah Stein won at second singles, Merzbacher won at third singles and Emma Schnell and Mara Sheley won at second doubles.

"The nice thing about winning the state team title is everyone on our team contributed in some way to that championship," Stephen said.

•In her Division I state tournament debut, Coffman junior Ash Thenappan lost to Toledo St. Ursula Academy freshman Kennedy Shaffer 6-1, 6-0 in the first round.

"There were so many people there watching us play, it was almost overwhelming," Thenappan said. "It was pretty awesome to be there with all the top players in the state. (Shaffer) was a tough player, who hit a lot of winners. I definitely want to make it back to do much better next year."