With no seniors on the roster, the Columbus Academy women’s tennis team qualified for their fifth straight Ohio Tennis Coaches Association Division II State tournament, finishing third on Oct. 24 at the Lakewood Racquet Lexington Club.
The Vikings lost 3-1 to Shaker Heights Hathaway Brown in the semifinals before beating Bryan 3-0 in the consolation final to finish 16-4 overall.
“I hope we will be back next year to turn things around,” said coach Marc Wurtzman. “I think we played really well, bouncing back from a loss. We took care of business and stayed focused. It’s always nice to end the season with a win. We can’t wait to work hard in the offseason and get him back.
“We have no senior in our starting XI. If we work hard and stay healthy, I hope we come back here.
Hathaway Brown won his seventh consecutive state title with a 3-2 victory over the Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy.
It was a busy weekend for sophomore Arya Chabria, who also competed in the state individual tournament on October 22. She led Caroline Brown of Cincinnati Indian Hill 3-1 in the first set before losing 7-6, 6-2.
“I think I could have gotten a game, but I’m happy with where I arrived,” said Chabria. “I was a state qualifier, which is a big deal for central Ohio because it’s such a strong district. I agree with what happened.
Chabria secured the place of state by defeating her junior teammate Anna Chang 6-2, 6-0 in the district final on Oct. 16 at the Academy.
“Arya has had a phenomenal season,” Wurtzman said. “In every practice, in every game, she came out and was a spark plug for the team. His passion and energy in the field are second to none. She will work hard. She plays in a lot of tournaments in the offseason. It will be stronger next year.
Other starters expected to return are juniors Naomi Chen and Emily Motta, sophomores Yasemin Bilgin and Grace Philip and freshman Tamanna Arya.
Academy went 6-1 in the MSL-Ohio division, finishing second behind Wellington (7-0). The Vikings lost to Wellington 3-2 on September 14, but avenged the loss by winning the OTCA District Final 3-2 on October 2.
“The team tournament was really fun,” said Chabria. “We are all very close. We have known each other for a very long time. We all grew up together. They are a really loving team and we are ready to fight for the next year.
•New Albania sophomores Paige Cornelius and Richie Francois capped a strong playoff season for themselves and a strong season for the team by competing in their first Division I State tournament on October 22.
Cornelius and Francois lost to Angelina Koinoglu and Isabelle Warburton of North Canton Hoover 7-5, 6-1 in the first round, only their second loss in nine playoff games. They won the Reynoldsburg sectional on October 9 and finished second in the district on October 16 at Hilliard Davidson.
Cornelius and Francois were the first New Albany qualifiers since Taylor Selby and Christina Vitellas in 2016.
“I think this is just the start for (Cornelius and Francois),” said coach Marc Thomas, whose team was 14-2 overall and 5-0 in the OCC- Ohio.
•Save: 16-4 in total
•MSL-Ohio Ranking: Wellington (7-0), Academy (6-1), Columbus School for Girls (5-2), Bexley, Buckeye Valley and Worthington Christian (3-4), Grandview (1-6), Whitehall (0-7)
•Elders lost: Spandana Amirneni, Lindsey Butler, Aanika Karumsi and Aleeza Yakoob
•Main returnees: Yasemin Bilgin, Arya Chabria, Anna Chang, Emily Motta and Grace Phillip
•To summarize: The Vikings’ season was marked by participating in their fifth consecutive OTCA Division II State Tournament, finishing third.
Chabria, a sophomore, represented the Academy in the state individual tournament, going 0-1 in singles.
The Vikings split two games with rival Wellington, losing 3-2 in the MSL-Ohio game on September 14 before avenging the loss with a 3-2 victory in the OTCA District Final on October 2.
•Save: 14-2 overall
•OCC-Ohio Ranking: New Albany (5-0), Gahanna (4-1), Westerville Central (3-2), Pickerington North (2-3), Grove City (1-4), Westland (0-5)
•Elders lost: Sydney Ayers, Elizabeth Campbell, Kary Hollenbaugh, Justina Sung and Helen Wang
•Main returnees: Airi Clements, Paige Cornelius, Richie François, Katia Jacoby. Madeleine Naumoff and Demi Shostak
•To summarize: Six of the Eagles’ seven playoff contenders are eligible to return, led by sophomore state qualifying team Cornelius and Francois. They typically played singles during the regular season, as did Hollenbaugh, who also helped the women’s golf team win their fourth straight state championship.
Wang, who qualified for the district in doubles with junior Shostak, is the only player to graduate in the playoffs.
New Albany won their 15th league championship in 16 seasons and placed fourth in the OTCA poll.