"Grit" was among the positive character traits the Olentangy Liberty High School boys lacrosse team showed during what became a hot April.

That's also the word coach Jason Godwin believes sums up the way his team played while wrapping up at least a share of the OCC-Buckeye Division title with a 10-7 win over Olentangy on May 1.

The Patriots accomplished the feat despite being without one of their top defensive players, Ohio State commit and long-stick midfielder Andrew Guagenti, who Godwin said is questionable to return this season.

The Patriots were 11-5 overall before facing Berlin on May 8. They are 6-0 in the OCC-Buckeye with a chance to wrap up the outright league title Friday, May 10, at home against New Albany.

"We had a tough schedule at the beginning of this year, and it kind of humbled us as a team," junior attacker/midfielder Jacob Kessler said. "We kind of kept looking back at that seeing who we are. (Beating Olentangy was) a good team win going into the playoffs."

Liberty received the third seed for the Division I, Region 1 tournament and opens the postseason Tuesday, May 14, at home against 14th-seeded Wadsworth, with the winner to play sixth-seeded Olentangy or 11th-seeded Dublin Scioto on May 17 in a quarterfinal.

The Patriots, who lost to Cincinnati St. Xavier 11-5 on May 5, got three goals from junior attacker Mason Spaulding and two each from senior midfielder Peter Spallino and sophomore attacker Alex Theuerkauf against Olentangy. Sophomore goalkeeper Adam Blind made 10 saves.

Tennis team confident heading into sectional

Sophomore Vishnu Bodavula and junior Marcelo Aguilar are the No. 1 seed in doubles for the Division I sectional boys tennis tournament Thursday, May 9, and Saturday, May 11, at Hilliard Bradley.

Junior Tarun Nandakumar is the fourth seed in singles.

The top four finishers in singles and doubles advance to district May 16 and 18 at Reynoldsburg.

Last season, Bodavula teamed with 2018 graduate Adithya Nair to reach district in doubles.

Bodavula played first singles and Aguilar played second singles for much of this season.

"We're going to state (with that doubles team)," coach Josh Matusky said.

Also competing in singles are junior Srihar Chakravarthy and sophomore Matthew Bu. The other doubles entrant is sophomores Arvind Nair and Nandha Srivenkateswaran.

With 5-0 victories over Bradley on April 30 and Hilliard Darby on May 1, the Patriots finished 10-5.

Baseball team in thick of title race

Although it lost a pair of games to Orange to open the OCC-Buckeye schedule, the baseball team has found its footing since that time.

Liberty lost the season series to the Pioneers but won the third meeting 6-5 in nine innings in a game that started May 1 and concluded May 2. The Patriots were 17-5 overall and 10-2 in the league, tied for first with Orange, after beating Westerville North 18-2 on May 6 and before facing Westerville South on May 7 and Westerville Central on May 8.

The Patriots also play host to Olentangy on Friday, May 10.

They close the regular season Monday, May 13, at home against West Jefferson, which is the No. 1 seed for the Division III district tournament, and May 17 at Dublin Jerome.

The fourth-seeded Patriots begin defense of their Division I state title Wednesday, May 15, at home with a second-round district game against 31st-seeded Marion Harding or 47th-seeded Columbus West. The winner plays in a district semifinal May 20.

In the win over Orange, Jack Metzger went 2-for-4 and scored twice and pitched the first three innings. Brennan Rowe went the final three innings to pick up the win.

Girls lacrosse team earns No. 3 seed

If the Division I, Region 1 tournament brackets live up to their seeds, the girls lacrosse team would get a rematch with Olentangy in a semifinal.

On Monday, May 13, the third-seeded Patriots open the postseason at home against 12th-seeded Westerville Central. They would play host to fourth-seeded Perrysburg or 14th-seeded Sylvania Northview on May 17 in a quarterfinal if they beat the Warhawks, whom they defeated 17-5 on April 25.

Olentangy received the second seed but lost to Liberty 13-11 on April 30 as the Patriots finished second (6-1) in the OCC-Buckeye behind New Albany (7-0).

The Patriots were 10-5 overall after losing to DeSales 15-8 on May 6 and close the regular season Friday, May 10, at Hudson and Saturday, May 11, at home against Jerome.

In a 19-15 victory over Medina on May 3, Molly Bursinger had seven goals, Rory Ball scored four and Allie Mitchell added three.

Five players scored at least two goals and goalie Gillian O'Rourke made four saves in a 15-3 victory over Berlin on May 2.

Volleyball team goes for title share

The boys volleyball team played May 8 at Olentangy with a share of the OCC-Buckeye title on the line.

The Patriots, who lost to the Braves 25-18, 25-18, 12-25, 25-23 on April 18, were 10-6 overall and 6-1 in the league heading into the match. Olentangy was 14-4 overall and 7-0 in the league.

Liberty had won five matches in a row before falling to defending Division II state champion St. Charles 25-18, 20-25, 23-25, 25-22, 15-12 on May 4.

The Patriots will learn their postseason drawing Monday, May 13.

Softball team opens tournament action

The eighth-seeded softball team opened the Division I district tournament May 8 at home against 18th-seeded Newark, with the winner to play seventh-seeded Watkins Memorial, ninth-seeded Gahanna or 43rd-seeded Mifflin in a district semifinal Monday, May 13, at a neutral site.

The district final is May 17 or 18 at Pickerington Central.

The Patriots finished the regular season 15-7 overall and 8-2 in the OCC-Buckeye.

In an 11-7 victory over Olentangy on May 1 that gave Liberty a season sweep of the Braves, Sammy Leonhardt and Arica Flaugher each had three hits and Dani Schoenly drove in three runs in support of Katelyn Wilhelm, who pitched six innings and struck out nine.

Track teams to begin postseason action

The boys and girls track and field teams are competing in the OCC-Buckeye meet, which began May 8 at Westerville North and concludes Saturday, May 11, at Hilliard Davidson.

Both teams then compete in the Division I, district 2 meet, which begins Tuesday, May 14, and concludes May 18 at Darby.

On May 3 in the Delaware County Championships at Orange, the boys scored 138 points to win the eight-team meet while the host Pioneers finished second (135) and the girls were second (109) of nine teams behind Orange (129).

Winning for the boys were Gavin Smith in the long jump (22 feet, 1 inch), Jake Sincek in the 110-meter hurdles (15.8 seconds) and the 400 relay (43.68).

Placing first for the girls were Noelle Meeker in the pole vault (11-3) and Linnea Kunesh in the 1,600 (5:19.37).

Kharchla wins Excellence Award

Senior wrestler Carson Kharchla has been named the 2019 Ohio and Midwest Region winner of the Dave Schultz High School Excellence Award (DSHSEA), the National Wrestling Hall of Fame announced May 2.

The DSHSEA recognizes high school seniors for their excellence in wrestling, scholastic achievement, citizenship and community service.

This past season, Kharchla won his second consecutive Division I state championship at 170 pounds. An Ohio State commit, he went 31-0 on the season to finish his prep career with a 101-4 record.

The DSHSEA's Midwest Region is comprised of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

julrey@thisweeknews.com

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