MASON — Central Ohio has two shots at winning a girls tennis state championship heading into action Oct. 20 at Lindner Family Tennis Center.
On Oct. 19, advancing to state semifinals were the Olentangy Liberty High School doubles team of sophomores Maddie Atway and Dani Schoenly in Division I and Columbus Academy sophomore Sydni Ratliff in singles in Division II.
Atway and Schoenly, who are the defending state champions, will play Mason’s Raina Chada and Annie Kruse in a semifinal. The winner faces Mason’s Sanjana Reddy and Ananya Aggarwal or Mayfield’s Hannah Kassale and Caitlyn Hsu for the title.
“I’m really happy to be back here,” Atway said. “We’ve been playing really well and I think we have a lot more to bring to the tournament.”
Ratliff, who was state runner-up a year ago, will play Chesterland West Geauga’s Rylie Hanford in a semifinal. The winner faces Shaker Heights Hathaway Brown’s Nicole Gillinov or Pepper Pike Orange’s Blessing Nwaozuzu for the title.
Gillinov beat Ratliff 6-2, 6-4 for last year’s title.
“(Ratliff’s) always had the talent, but she has improved mentally and is using a lot more strategy (this season),” Academy coach Tommy Haddow said.
Pickerington North junior Cassie Alcala, who was last year’s state runner-up in Division I singles, couldn’t continue her run after winning a district championship Oct. 13, as she lost in the opening round.
Advancing to the second round in Division I singles was Dublin Jerome junior Katherine Wang, who beat Oregon Clay’s Tori Gallaher 6-1, 6-1 before losing to Rocky River Magnificat’s Anna Roggenburk — last year’s state champion — 6-1, 6-0 in a quarterfinal.
In first-round Division I singles matches, Alcala lost to North Canton Hoover’s Laurel Utterback 6-4, 4-6, 6-2, Jerome junior Reagan Resor lost to Westlake’s Emma Peeler 6-0, 6-2 and Jerome sophomore Lalasa Nagireddy lost to Cincinnati Mount Notre Dame’s Kelli Niehaus 6-0, 6-0.
“(Utterback) literally played the match of her life,” Pickerington North coach Brian Hoff said. “We knew she was a good player, but she played great today.”
Also in Division I doubles, juniors Kortney Reed and Erin Storrer of Olentangy Orange and senior Evelyn Holman and junior Wendy Shi of Upper Arlington lost in the second round, while Liberty seniors Lexie Brengartner and Ellie MacDowell lost in the first round.
“(Being at state) means a lot, especially since we got to play on center court as our first time at state, which was pretty cool,” Reed said.
In Division II doubles, freshman Carmen Merkel and sophomore Lauren Motta of Academy lost in the second round.