When Tricia Nunemaker took over the Reynoldsburg High School girls volleyball program before last season, she realized it would take some time before her influence within the program would be noticed.

When Tricia Nunemaker took over the Reynoldsburg High School girls volleyball program before last season, she realized it would take some time before her influence within the program would be noticed.

Nunemaker believes followers of the program will continue to witness that improvement as she begins her second season. The Raiders, who opened last Tuesday against Grove City, will open OCC-Ohio Division play today at Newark.

Reynoldsburg finished 7-16 overall last year and went 4-6 in the OCC-Buckeye to take fourth behind champion Dublin Coffman (9-1).

"I think we'll be much better this year," Nunemaker said. "They're starting to play my game. They're starting to play my offense. They're getting a little more used to my offense and my defense compared to what they knew last year. Everything was so new last year. It's not as new anymore."

The Raiders lost four graduates, but return five players with ample varsity experience.

Back are senior outside-hitter Amanda Tubbs, junior setter/outside-hitter Brittany Layton, junior outside-hitters Ali Steele and Jasmine Burrell and junior middle-hitter Alicia Rodgers.

Burrell will miss early season action with a back injury, according to Nunemaker.

Sophomore setter/libero Samantha Miller also will miss time with a back injury and Nunemaker said there is no timetable for her return.

"Everybody has to try their hardest," Tubbs said. "We have to be aggressive and no slacking. We're getting in shape and I think we can do it. We're working together very well. We're playing as a team."

Senior setter Ally Zollars and senior outside-hitter Alyssa Pollock are new to the varsity.

Other players on the roster are junior outside-hitters Yuko Koge and Sara Waybright, sophomore outside-hitters Donyelle Brown and Tiffany Ricks and sophomore middle-hitter Ally Corns. Koge is an-exchange student from Japan.

"The young girls have to step up and play good volleyball," Nunemaker said. "For the young girls that are replacing the seniors from last year, I have a lot of sophomores on my team this year, so they have to step up and play like my seniors did last year."

Reynoldsburg is in the OCC-Ohio with Gahanna, Grove City, Groveport, Lancaster, Pickerington Central, Pickerington North and Newark. Nunemaker expects Lancaster, Pickerington North and Newark to be the teams to beat.

Last season, Newark reached a district semifinal, falling to second-seeded Hilliard Davidson in four games. Fourth-seeded North also reached a district semifinal before losing to fifth-seeded Olentangy Liberty in four games. Eighth-seeded Lancaster lost to seventh-seeded Worthington Kilbourne in four games in a district semifinal.

"We would like to win the OCC," Nunemaker said. "That's our goal this year. They seem more focused on a team goal instead of individual.

"We need to pass better. We need better serve-receiving and passing because when we pass well we win. When we run a good offense we play real well, but that's the secret to every volleyball team, not just us."

At a glance

Coach: Tricia Nunemaker, second season

Next match: Today at Newark

Key players: Jasmine Burrell, Brittany Layton, Alicia Rodgers, Ali Steele and Amanda Tubbs