If Reynoldsburg High School girls soccer coach Johnny Ulry had to pick a highlight of the season, he probably would choose the contest against Marietta.

If Reynoldsburg High School girls soccer coach Johnny Ulry had to pick a highlight of the season, he probably would choose the contest against Marietta.

The Raiders defeated Marietta 2-0 on Sept. 26 behind goals by Taylor Jennings-Sargent and Allison Gibson and seven saves from Kelsea Corns. The Tigers were undefeated at the time and have not lost since, as they improved to 15-1-3 after beating Hillsboro 2-1 in a Division I district final last Saturday.

"The girls were really focused," Ulry said. "They didn't get intimidated at all. We were in a drought and we needed something just to lift our spirits."

The Raiders were 2-4-2 before playing Marietta.

"To get that win was pivotal," Ulry said. "It gave some life to the program and the girls. At that point, nothing seemed to be going right for us; we just couldn't buy a win. The girls deserved it. They played hard and physical."

Any momentum Reynoldsburg gained from the victory was short-lived, however. The Raiders won their next game, beating Groveport 5-0 on Sept. 29, but that would be their last win, as they went 0-5-2 in their final seven contests.

The Raiders lost to Big Walnut 3-0 in the first round of the Division I district tournament Oct. 20 to finish 4-9-4 overall. They finished 1-3-2 in the OCC-Ohio Division to place fifth behind Pickerington North (6-0), Gahanna (5-1), Pickerington Central (3-2-1) and Newark (2-2-2) and ahead of Lancaster (1-4-1) and Groveport (0-6).

"There were some lows, there were some highs," Ulry said. "At the end of the day, the girls never quit. They continued to work hard every game. They never allowed themselves to be counted out. That, to me, was the most important thing. The girls never allowed themselves to get down and they worked for each other. They definitely laid their footprint for the foundation of the program."

Reynoldsburg loses 11 seniors, including Jennings-Sargent and Corns. With so many holes to fill, Ulry will be counting heavily on the returnees, particularly juniors Toni Munion and Allie Clayton, next season.

"Toni is the backbone of our team," Ulry said. "Allie is a little spitfire and when she plays, she's awesome. We're really relying on those two to put the team on their backs and step up for us."

Others expected to return include sophomores Sarah Rutherford and Gibson and freshmen Kirsten Boone and Crista Zelloferrow.

"Those are our main youngsters, and they have been a huge part of our successes throughout the season," Ulry said. "They're trying now to step up in a leadership role, trying to take charge more than they did during the start of the season.

"As much as we want to be successful next year, we've got to understand that we're going to have work extremely hard, much harder than other teams because we're going to be extremely young. By the time they're seniors, they'll be very mature seniors, so they'll know how to handle situations. And that's what I'm looking forward to."

Ulry, 24, was named coach last July after Mark Wise abruptly resigned last June to become coach at Upper Arlington. Wise had compiled a 63-68-10 record in eight seasons with the Raiders, including a 12-4-3 mark last season.

•The boys team lost to Lancaster 2-0 in the second round of the district tournament last Saturday to finish 2-11-4 overall.

The Raiders, who had a first-round bye, finished 2-2-2 in the OCC-Ohio to place fourth behind Gahanna (6-0), North (3-1-1) and Central (3-1-2) and ahead of Lancaster (2-3-1), Groveport (1-5) and Newark (0-6).

Coach Carlos Bonilla thinks his team's overall record was somewhat misleading.

"We were always in the matches," he said. "We've always been extremely competitive, and you have to give the kids credit for that."

The Raiders lose five seniors -- all starters -- but expect to return a strong sophomore class that includes forwards Trevor Flowers and Troy Marshall, who combined for 13 goals this season. Also featured in that class are midfielders Gregory Chang, Matt Fee, Ben Kister and Caleb Wilson and versatile utility player Alex Jobin.

Also expected to play a key role next season is junior midfielder Blake Eshelman.

"That group is all playing right now," Bonilla said. "And there have been times when I started all of them. We have been highly competitive with these kids."

The high school's pay-to-participate fee rose from $30 to $100 last January and rose to $500 this school year after a 15.6-mill operating levy failed last May. Consequently, the number of students participating in sports this fall dropped.

This offseason, boosting the number of participants in the program is the top priority for both Bonilla and Ulry.

"We've got to go to the middle schools, talk a little bit about it, and try to figure out what interest we have," Bonilla said. "We need to get parents of the current group very involved and talk to neighbors and co-workers and people that live in the community, to get an idea of any kids who might be playing soccer in the area. Word of mouth can be a powerful thing."

There is hope that the steep pay-to-participate fee can be lowered if the district is able to pass a 9.9-mill operating levy on Tuesday's ballot. However, because the levy is significantly lower than the failed levy last May, the fee may not be lowered even if the levy passes.

Reynoldsburg's Brittany Berry dribbles past Big Walnut's Nikki Thompson in a Division I district tournament game Oct. 20. The Raiders lost 3-0.

Taylor Jennings-Sargent blasts a shot in the Raiders' 3-0 loss to Big Walnut in the first round of the Division I district tournament.

At a glance

Below are the recent results for the Reynoldsburg boys and girls soccer teams:

BOYS

Sept. 26 -- Lost to Kettering Fairmont 3-0

*Sept. 29 -- Defeated Groveport 5-1

Oct. 1 -- Lost to Hilliard Bradley 1-0

*Oct. 6 -- Lost to Gahanna 5-0

Oct. 8 -- Lost to St. Charles 4-3

*Oct. 13 -- Tied Pickerington Central at 1

Oct. 15 -- Lost to Hilliard Davidson 2-1

Last Saturday -- Lost to Lancaster 2-0 in second round of Division I district tournament

Of note: The Raiders finished 2-11-4 overall and 2-2-2 in the OCC-Ohio.

GIRLS

Sept. 26 -- Def. Marietta 2-0

*Sept. 29 -- Def. Groveport 5-0

Oct. 3 -- Lost to Marysville 1-0

*Oct. 6 -- Lost to Gahanna 2-1

Oct. 8 -- Tied Delaware at 2

Oct. 10 -- Lost to Huber Heights Wayne 3-0

*Oct. 13 -- Lost to Pickerington Central 3-1

Oct. 15 -- Tied Watkins Memorial at 0

Oct. 20 -- Lost to Big Walnut 3-0 in first round of Division I district tournament

Of note: The Raiders finished 4-9-4 overall and 1-3-2 in the OCC-Ohio.

*OCC-Ohio contest