Ursuline Academy senior Mehvish Safdar approaches the net for a drop shot against Mount Notre Dame Sept. 3 at the Blue Ash Recreation Center. Mark D. Motz/The Community Press
By Mark Schmetzer, Enquirer contributor:
The 38th annual girls state tournament is scheduled to get under way at 9 a.m. on Friday with Division I singles competition at Ohio State University’s Outdoor Varsity Tennis Courts. Semifinalists in Division I and II singles and doubles are expected to be determined on the first day before the tournament resumes, again with Division I singles play, on Saturday at 9 a.m. at Hilliard Davidson High School.
If play is forced by weather off of the outdoor courts, the tournament will be moved to the Elysium Tennis Center in Plain City.
One intriguing possibility is a Division I finals matchup between Kings senior Amani Ismail and Ursuline senior Mehvish Safdar, of Mason. The two met in last year’s third-place match and again in this year’s sectional and district finals, with Safdar winning the first two before Ismail prevailed in Saturday’s district championship match.
“We always have close matches,” Ismail. “We go back and forth all the time. That’s how we play.”
Mason is sending five players – including three freshmen – to the Division I tournament. Freshman Elizabeth Kong will play singles while classmates Isabel Cepeda and Amanda Huser comprise a doubles team.
Senior Nina Cepeda will play on another doubles team, but her partner remained unclear as senior Lynn Kelly rehabbed a knee injury that forced the team to withdraw during Saturday’s semifinals. Coach Mike Reid said in a Monday e-mail that Kelly’s status wouldn’t be known until Thursday, but if she can’t play, Mason would be allowed to substitute another player.
Walnut Hills freshman Lily O’Toole also qualified in Division I singles. Cincinnati Country Day junior Danielle Wolf qualified in Division II singles for the third consecutive season, while Indian Hill sophomores Meredith Breda and Caroline Anderson and Wyoming senior Maddie Boster and junior Haley Thorsen earned doubles berths.
Wolf, who finished fourth as a freshman and lost in the second round last year, hadn’t looked ahead at her possible competition before winning her third straight district title on Saturday.
“I’ve never been one for looking at draws,” said Wolf, who is scheduled to face Gates Mill Hawken junior Sydney Green in the first round. “I don’t know who’s in. I just show up and play.”
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