When Sydni Ratliff was preparing for her freshman season at Columbus Academy, girls tennis coach Tom Haddow knew he was adding a special player to the program.
With a 15-0 record before the Vikings faced Division I Dublin Jerome on Oct. 3, Ratliff has exceeded Haddow's expectations even though she has played at the national level in the United States Tennis Association.
"She's better than I thought," Haddow said. "These matches will help her for state. I would assume she is one of the favorites (to win the state singles championship)."
Ratliff and her teammates faced another Division I foe Oct. 2 as they defeated Upper Arlington 4-1 to tune up for a Division II sectional tournament Friday, Oct. 5, at home and Saturday, Oct. 7, at Columbus School for Girls.
Haddow expects all five courts to contend for a district berth. Ratliff is the top seed in singles.
The top four finishers in singles and doubles at sectional advance to district Oct. 12 at CSG and Oct. 14 at UA. At district, the singles and doubles champions advance to state Oct. 20 and 21 at Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason.
Senior Georgia Tuckerman was the Vikings' lone representative at state last season, losing in the first round in singles. She will team with junior Himaja Reddy in doubles during the postseason, and they are seeded first at sectional.
During a 4-1 win over Division I New Albany on Sept. 28, Tuckerman breezed to a 6-0, 6-0 win over Alexandra Vitellas at second singles.
"I can't believe (my prep career) is almost over. Time flies," Tuckerman said. "I would love a state championship, so hopefully we can contend for that."
Tuckerman is seeking her fourth state berth and last played doubles during the postseason in her freshman year, teaming with 2015 graduate Katherine Guan to finish 1-1. As a sophomore, Tuckerman went 1-1 in singles.
Senior Lexis Hughes and junior Maddie Tuckerman are seeded second in doubles at sectional, and sophomore Alex Graham and freshman Lauren Motta are seeded second and fourth, respectively, in singles.
"Alex has really come on," Haddow said.
Academy was 11-1 before playing Jerome, with the loss coming against Division I Olentangy Liberty 4-1 on Aug. 30. Ratliff played her lone doubles match of the season against the Patriots, teaming with Motta to win 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 at first doubles.
Haddow said he schedules elite Division I programs to help his team prepare for Division II postseason play.
The Vikings received a bye to a semifinal of the Ohio Tennis Coaches Association Division II team tournament and will play Washington Court House on a date to be determined. The winner plays Wellington in a district final, with the winner advancing to the state tournament Oct. 22 at Reynoldsburg.
Wellington defeated CSG 3-2 in the other semifinal Sept. 28.
Academy defeated Wellington 5-0 on Sept. 12 and CSG 5-0 on Sept. 25.
"We're getting there," Haddow said. "Our goal is team states."
The football team will look to avoid a letdown when it plays host to Columbus East on Friday, Oct. 6.
The Vikings improved to 5-1 overall and 2-1 in the MSL-Ohio Division with a 38-7 win at Bexley on Sept. 28.
The victory snapped a four-game losing streak against the Lions.
East, a member of the City League-North, was 0-6 after losing to Centennial 63-27 on Sept. 29.
"Knowing our kids, I don't think it will be hard to motivate them (for East)," coach Robin Miller said. "They're a focused group, they're a disciplined group and they'll know the task at hand. We're getting ready for a lot more football, more than just East."
According to Academy officials who researched the series between the Vikings and East, the teams last played to a scoreless tie in 1936.
Academy took control in the second quarter against Bexley, sparked by Dorrian Moultrie's 42-yard punt return for a touchdown that snapped a 7-all tie. He also had nine catches for 125 yards and a touchdown.
Matt Saling completed 15 of 25 passes for 214 yards with a touchdown and an interception, and Herman Moultrie rushed for 84 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries.
"(The Lions) gave us all we could handle, so I'm glad our kids responded ... when we needed to," Miller said.
Boys golf team
competes at district
The boys golf team competed in the Division II district tournament Oct. 4 at Denison Golf Club at Granville.
The top team and the top individual not on that team advanced to state Oct. 13 and 14 at NorthStar.
The Vikings qualified for district by winning the 12-team sectional Sept. 26 at Oakhaven with a 303, finishing ahead of fellow qualifiers Hartley (317) and DeSales (338).
Cole Walter led Academy with a 71, followed by Sam Vogel (75), Kahmar Byers (78), Ali Khan (79) and Matthew Cammeyer (81).
Boys soccer team
faces key tests
The boys soccer team entered the week looking to remain in the MSL-Ohio title chase.
The Vikings were 8-3-1 overall and 2-0-1 in the league before playing Bexley on Oct. 4.
Before playing the Lions, Academy's lone blemish in the league was a 1-all tie against Whitehall on Sept. 13.
Bexley entered the game at 2-0-2 in the league and tied with Grandview, which plays Academy on Saturday, Oct. 7.
Jack Ostrowski scored in a 2-1 loss at Westland on Sept. 28.
Below are the coming schedules for the Columbus Academy cross country, field hockey, boys soccer, girls soccer and girls volleyball teams:
Oct. 7 -- Les Eisenhart Invitational at Thomas Worthington
*Oct. 5 -- At New Albany
*Oct. 11 -- Home vs. Lancaster
*Oct. 7 -- Grandview at Mapfre Stadium
Oct. 11 -- At Fairfield Union
*Oct. 7 -- Grandview at Mapfre Stadium
Oct. 10 -- Home vs. Fairfield Union
*Oct. 5 -- At London. The Vikings lost to the Red Raiders 25-17, 25-10, 25-10 on Sept. 12.
*Oct. 10 -- Home vs. Bexley. The Vikings lost to the Lions 26-24, 21-25, 16-25, 25-17, 15-11 on Sept. 19.