Ready Roundup: Veteran girls tennis team making most of season

Jarrod Ulrey
ThisWeek group
Ready’s Jenna Ruth hits a backhand return during a match against Grove City on Sept. 21. Ruth is one of six seniors leading the way for the Silver Knights, who were 5-7 overall before facing Hilliard Darby on Sept. 24.

A senior class that features six players who have been with the program since they were freshmen has provided plenty of enjoyable moments this fall for the Ready girls tennis team. 

“I have six seniors, and I’ve gotten to know them really well,” seventh-year coach Dan Skuce said. “I just have fun hanging around with them, and practices are a lot of fun. I’m definitely going to miss them. Having something that’s somewhat normal, oh my goodness how we need that back. This gives me sanity.” 

It also helps that Ready has had some success against teams it expected to be competitive against this season. 

Before facing Hilliard Darby on Sept. 24, Ready was 5-7 overall. 

The Silver Knights came up just short Sept. 22, falling to Hartley 3-2 as they finished 0-3 in the CCL. They will travel Monday, Sept. 28, to Worthington Kilbourne and close the regular season Wednesday, Sept. 30, at home against Franklin Heights, which Ready beat 5-0 on Aug. 19. 

A 4-1 win over Whetstone on Sept. 17 also was a pleasant surprise, according to Skuce. 

“One of the teams we should have beaten was Central Crossing, but we lost 3-2 (on Aug. 26),” Skuce said. “It’s been a decent season and it’s just good to be out there playing. It seems like we’ve only had one match that went 3-2. A lot of them have been lopsided, with either we win 5-0 or we get beat 5-0.” 

Ready is preparing for the Division II postseason, which begins with sectional competition Oct. 6 at Columbus Academy.  

Sophomore Kayla Thomas has spent the season at first singles, with senior Jenna Ruth and junior Victoria Foust at second and third singles, respectively. 

Seniors Mary Tokar and Claire Nagy have been at first doubles, with seniors Grace Larger and Iveth Saucedo at second doubles. 

Thomas, Ruth and Foust are expected to remain at doubles for the postseason, with the teams of Tokar and Nagy and Larger and Saucedo competing in doubles. 

The other senior in the program is Rose Scott. 

“I don’t think we’ve ever had a girl come out of sectionals,” Skuce said. “It’s always been really close, but we’ve not had that. Kayla Thomas is a sophomore but plays year-round so there’s potential. A lot of our girls put in three hours a day all year long.” 

Football squad grows from losses 

Heading into its game Sept. 24 against Whitehall, the football team was 2-2 with a pair of tight losses. 

The Knights, who opened with a 7-6 loss to Liberty Union on Aug. 28 and lost to Harvest Prep 18-15 on Sept. 18, play at Bexley on Friday, Oct. 2, in their final regular-season game before the Division V, Region 19 playoffs begin Oct. 10. 

Ready is considered an auxiliary member of the MSL-Ohio Division and is playing all six of its games before the postseason against opponents from that league. 

Harvest Prep and Liberty Union, as well as Columbus Academy, which the Knights beat 33-7 on Sept. 11, also are in Region 19. 

The only other Central District teams in Region 19 are Amanda-Clearcreek, Johnstown and Utica. 

Against Harvest Prep, Evan O’Connell missed a 42-yard field goal with 41 seconds left that would have tied the game and potentially sent it to overtime. 

Although the Knights were limited to 109 yards rushing on 42 carries in that game, as senior quarterback Darius Parham led the way with 140 yards passing and 57 yards rushing, coach Joel Cutler believes what was gained from the contest will be positive going forward. 

“We knew from watching film that (Harvest Prep was) going to be a good, physical matchup for us,” Cutler said. “This was an overtime game with us last year at our place and we knew with it being senior night that they’d bring that momentum. 

“We’ve also been playing physical football. We were down 10 points, we battled back, we get a score and get a stop on fourth down and we stuff them. We had an opportunity to go down and go to overtime or win it. It’s one of those things you learn from before this playoff run.” 

Boys soccer team takes strides forward 

Before playing Franklin Heights on Sept. 24 and Amanda-Clearcreek on Sept. 26, the boys soccer team was 3-4-1 overall. 

The Knights, who went just 1-14-1 last season, beat Granville Christian 5-0 on Aug. 27, Heath 3-1 on Aug. 29 and Marion Pleasant 3-1 on Sept. 10. 

On Sept. 22, Ready lost to Watterson 10-0 to fall to 0-2 in the CCL. It closes the league schedule Tuesday, Sept. 27, at DeSales and Oct. 6 at home against Hartley. 

The Division III district tournament drawing is Oct. 11. 

Through eight games, junior Isaac Paul had five goals and four assists and freshman Tony Yadaicela had three goals. 

“We have lost four starters (to injury) and so each game is a learning experience for our nine freshmen,” coach Ronnie Maynard said. “The good thing about losing four starters is that our young players are receiving quality minutes, which can only help us come tournament time.” 

julrey@thisweeknews.com 

@UlreyThisWeek