Columbus Academy Roundup: Sydni Ratliff, girls tennis squad continued to shine

Frank DiRenna
ThisWeek group
Senior Lauren Motta helped the Columbus Academy girls tennis team reach the final of the Division II OTCA state tournament. The Vikings lost that match to Shaker Heights Hathaway Brown 3-2 on Oct. 25 to finish 16-2.

In what was another banner season for the Columbus Academy girls tennis team, the Vikings competed for state titles in both the individual and team tournaments during the final weekend of the season.

It also was a bittersweet ending, as Academy fell short of those titles and standout senior Sydni Ratliff concluded her prep career.

The Vikings qualified for their fourth consecutive Ohio Tennis Coaches Association Division II state tournament but finished second with a 3-2 loss to Shaker Heights Hathaway Brown on Oct. 25 at New Albany.

A day earlier, Ratliff finished as runner-up in the Division II individual state tournament, losing 7-6, 7-5 to Eaton’s Macy Hitchcock in the final at Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason.

Ratliff won the program’s first state singles title in 2019 after finishing second in 2017 and 2018.

“Becoming the first person to ever win state (singles) at my school is such a good accomplishment,” said Ratliff, who has committed to Ohio State. “Making it to state in the final every year and making it to the team state (tournament) is obviously a pretty good high school career. I have to be pretty happy with my overall body of work.”

In a season affected by the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, coach Marc Wurtzman was proud of his team’s continued success.

“We were third last season (in the state team tournament), so we’re heading in the right direction,” Wurtzman said. “We’re just extremely happy to finish the season. There was a lot of uncertainty this year if we were going to be able to play this season. We’re just happy to have the chance to compete at this level and finish the season off.”

In the team final, Academy opened a 2-0 lead on 6-0, 6-0 wins by Ratliff at first singles and senior Carolyn Tsung at second singles before Hathaway Brown won the remaining three courts to secure its sixth consecutive state title.

The Vikings, who finished 16-2 overall, were seeking their first championship since 2008.

Academy opened the state team tournament with a 3-0 semifinal victory over Toledo Ottawa Hills. Winners were freshman Grace Philip 6-0, 6-0 at third singles, Ratliff and freshman Arya Chabria 6-0, 6-0 at first doubles and senior Lauren Motta and freshman Yasemin Bilgin 6-0, 6-1 at second doubles.

Academy advanced to the state team tournament by defeating Wellington 3-1 in the district final Oct. 5. The Vikings also beat the Jaguars 4-1 on Sept. 10 on their way to winning the MSL-Ohio Division title at 7-0, ahead of second-place Wellington (6-1). It was Academy’s 17th consecutive league title and 19th in 20 seasons.

Others eligible to return are sophomores Anna Chang, Naomi Chen and Emily Motta.

“I’m looking forward to next season,” Wurtzman said. “We have a good group of young girls. ... We’re looking to get back to work as soon as we can.”

Senior middle hitter Olivia Pierre-Louis was honorable mention all-league for the Vikings girls volleyball team.

Girls volleyball team

closes season

The girls volleyball team also was affected by the coronavirus, as it had to cancel seven matches.

The Vikings finished 2-14 overall and went 1-8 in the MSL-Ohio.

“We knew going into the beginning of the year that this was going to be a tough year,” coach John Kelley said. “I’m real pleased with the effort and the improvement that we made over the course of the year. Even though the record doesn’t really show it, we’re a much better team now than we were at the beginning of the year.”

Seeded 17th in the Division III district tournament, Academy lost 25-14 25-10, 25-11 at second-seeded Johnstown in the first round Oct. 20.

Junior outside hitter Kerry O’Connor was named second-team all-league and senior middle hitter Olivia Pierre-Louis was honorable mention all-league.

Others eligible to return are junior Aislinn Ahern (setter), sophomore Sophia Constantine (middle hitter/outside hitter) and freshmen Renee Fleege (outside hitter), Alli Klinefelter (libero), Maddie Martin (outside hitter), Kelli Raque (outside hitter), Eliora Teferi (setter/outside hitter) and Shaia Young (defensive specialist).

Football team loses

postseason game

The football team lost 20-17 at home to fifth-seeded Harvest Prep in a Division V, Region 19 quarterfinal Oct. 24. The fourth-seeded Vikings finished 6-2.

Academy took a 17-14 lead on a 22-yard touchdown pass from Brady Hess to Sam Huyghe with 1 minute, 12 seconds remaining, but Harvest Prep’s Jaylen Jennings scored on a 3-yard run 25 seconds later.

Hess completed 12 of 25 passes for 163 yards and two touchdowns and added 74 yards rushing on 18 carries.

“These guys have nothing to hang their heads about,” coach Robin Miller said. “The way they fought, the way they battled and the things they went through this year, just to play this season was unbelievable. I’m absolutely honored that I get to call myself their coach.”

fdirenna@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekFrank

GIRLS TENNIS

Record: 16-2 overall

MSL-Ohio standings: Academy (41, 7-0), Wellington (35, 6-1), Worthington Christian (26, 5-2), Bexley (24, 4-3), Columbus School for Girls (21, 3-4), Buckeye Valley (11, 2-5), Grandview (8, 1-6), Whitehall (0, 0-7)

Seniors lost: Lauren Motta, Sydni Ratliff, Sophia Sommer and Carolyn Tsung

Key returnees: Yasemin Bilgin, Arya Chabria and Grace Philip

GIRLS VOLLEYBALL

Record: 2-14 overall

MSL-Ohio standings: Worthington Christian (12-0), Bexley (9-2), Buckeye Valley and Grandview (both 7-5), CSG (3-8), Columbus Academy (1-8), Whitehall (0-11)

Seniors lost: Olivia Pierre-Louis, Cydney Platt and Ellie Vasilkov

Key returnees: Aislinn Ahern and Kerry O’Connor

Postseason: Lost to Johnstown 25-14 25-10, 25-11 in first round of Division III district tournament