Girls Tennis: Worthington Kilbourne's Libby Alderman enjoys strong freshman season

Stephen Borgna
ThisWeek group
Kilbourne's Libby Alderman capped her freshman season at the Division I state tournament Oct. 23 at Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason. She lost her only state match after winning a sectional championship and placing fourth at district.

Libby Alderman exceeded her own expectations for her first season on the Worthington Kilbourne girls tennis team.

The freshman won a Division I sectional singles championship Oct. 10 at Upper Arlington and then finished fourth in the district tournament Oct. 17 at Reynoldsburg, earning a berth to state.

As the Wolves' lone state competitor, Alderman lost her only match in the tournament Oct. 23 at Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason. Still, she has three more chances to win a state title after a successful inaugural season at the prep level.

“I knew (qualifying for state) was a possibility, but I wasn’t planning on it,” said Alderman, who earned first-team all-league honors in the OCC-Capital Division. “I was kind of just setting lower expectations and seeing what I could do.” 

For Kilbourne coach Steve Metzmaier, he went from not being sure what to expect from Alderman early in the season to being impressed by her competitiveness in every match.

She helped the Wolves finish 10-9 overall and 6-1 in the OCC-Capital, second behind Big Walnut (7-0). It was the highest league finish for Kilbourne in Metzmaier’s seven seasons.

“I wasn’t sure how (Alderman) was going to compete against these girls that were older and stronger,” Metzmaier said. “She of course shocked me how she was in there with them every match. There wasn’t a match she played that she really wasn’t somewhat in the match. 

“Even the matches she lost, she was in there, and I think that just speaks to her competitiveness. She’s so competitive.” 

Alderman lost to Mayfield senior Hannah Kassaie 6-3, 6-0 in the first round of the state tournament. 

“I played a great player, all the credit to her,” Alderman said. “She went out there and played a good match. I fought hard, but it just didn’t fall in my favor.” 

At sectional, Alderman defeated another freshman, Isabella Roth of perennial power UA, 6-3, 6-2 for the championship. Alderman was the top seed and Roth was the second seed.

After earning her state berth, Alderman lost to four-time state-qualifier Dani Schoenly of Olentangy Liberty 6-3, 6-2 in a district semifinal and then fell to Dublin Coffman sophomore Dasha Chistyakova 5-7, 6-1, 6-3 in the third-place match.

Facing that type of competition should help Alderman in her preparation for next season, when she said the goal will be “to make it to state again.” 

Metzmaier said the sky's the limit for Alderman, who competed at first singles this season. 

“I think as she gets older and a little more mature as far as her on-court attitude and demeanor, she’s going to get better and better,” Metzmaier said. “The way I look at it is, she wants it pretty bad to be very good. I think she’ll just keep on working at it. She’s not going to quit.” 

From their postseason lineup, the Wolves also expect to return sophomore singles players Lily Hershey and Kacy Kohler as well as the doubles team of juniors Eva Bomsta and Ellie Needleman. The other doubles team featured senior Rhea Taneja and another expected returnee in freshman Rachel Baughman.

sborgna@thisweeknews.com

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Record: 10-9 overall

OCC-Capital standings: Big Walnut (7-0), Worthington Kilbourne (6-1), Dublin Scioto (5-2), Delaware (4-3), Westerville North (3-4), Westerville South (2-5), Canal Winchester (1-6), Franklin Heights (0-7) 

Seniors lost: Sophia Exline, Wonnie Kim, Maeve Pack, Jenna Reinhart, Mahek Shera and Rhea Taneja

Key returnees: Libby Alderman, Rachel Baughman, Evelyn Bomsta, Brooke Carter, Zara Haque, Lily Hershey, Kacy Kohler and Ellie Needleman