The Reynoldsburg High School girls soccer team is hoping winning seasons by its girls basketball and track and field teams last school season can provide the impetus it needs to pump some life back into its program.

The Reynoldsburg High School girls soccer team is hoping winning seasons by its girls basketball and track and field teams last school season can provide the impetus it needs to pump some life back into its program.

Despite the fact the district's pay to participate fees dropped from $500 last fall to $240 per sport this season, the Raiders had several expected returnees decide not to come back.

"I don't think some of the girls realized that the soccer boosters helped raise money that lowered the girls' cost to $175 per player," said first-year coach Dana Ortman, who replaces Johnny Ulry. "We already lost a graduating class of 11 last year and when five or six players also didn't come back, I knew it was time to do some recruiting.

"With the basketball team and track team, you know we have great athletes. So I was able to pick up some of them."

Ortman was an assistant coach at Heath last season after being let go as a teacher by Reynoldsburg the previous spring. Ortman, who lives in Reynoldsburg, was brought back and is teaching eighth-grade Spanish at Waggoner Jr. High.

The Raiders, who finished 4-9-4 overall and 1-3-2 in the OCC-Ohio Division last season, did return four starters and five letterwinners, led by junior forward Ali Gibson and sophomore center midfielder Christa Zellefrow. Others are junior sweeper Sara Rutherford and senior Toni Munyan, who will play on defense and at forward in the Raiders' 3-5-2 scheme.

Junior Aleia Lewis lettered as a sophomore, but missed most of last season with an ACL tear. She will move from midfield to goalkeeper.

"Aleia Lewis is a rock between the posts, (Gibson) is dynamic player and Zellefrow does a nice job setting everyone up," Ortman said. "We're set in the center-mid with Christa Zellefrow, Katie Broehm and Rachel Streib."

Broehm and Streib are two of the nine freshmen on the roster.

Junior Lindsey Matthews will start at the left outside in the midfield, with freshman Rachel Hodnett rotating with senior Kacia Grant on the right outside spot.

Grant is one of three players from the basketball team on the roster. Grant, who played point guard, also competed at the state track meet. The others who played for the basketball team, which was a state semifinalist last March, are juniors Aliyah Zantt and Dess Aideyman.

"They're picking up their game and learning quickly, and I'm excited about their potential," Ortman said.

Joining Rutherford on defense will be junior Kelsey Adams and freshman Kelsey Johnson. Freshman Kelsey Fisher is expected to start at forward with Gibson. Streib also may play forward.

Vying for time on defense are freshmen Allison Blackburn, Aimee Ortega and Catherine Gundelfinger and Alex Thorn. Sophomores Kassie Fox and Sonya Maher are seeking time in the midfield.

The Raiders were fifth in the league last year, behind champion Pickerington North (6-0), Gahanna (5-1), Pickerington Central (3-2-1) and Newark (2-2-2). Lancaster (1-4-1) and Groveport (0-6) followed. Grove City did not have fall sports.

"Although this is a rebuilding process, we've got several younger girls who have played in club, we've got hard workers and newcomers who are proven winners," Ortman said. "I'm excited to see where this leads us."

•The boys team returns six players who earned starts last season when the Raiders finished 2-11-4 overall and 2-2-2 in league play.

They include seniors Blake Eshelman and Peyton Radebaugh, as well as juniors Gregory Chang, Trevor Flowers, Troy Marshall and Caleb Wilson.

"I'm extremely excited about the season, especially after playing Dublin Coffman very well in a 2-0 scrimmage loss (last Saturday)," said first-year coach Justin Lewis, who replaces Carlos Bonilla. "They scored on a penalty kick in the final minute and got the first one on a free kick when we were sloppy."

Lewis was an assistant at Coffman the past two years and has been a coach with Team Ohio for four seasons.

"The boys are learning the system and they're moving the ball well, which I like," Lewis said. "We want a lot of touches through the middle and let the ball do the work. We had nice build-ups against Coffman, we just didn't finish. I like that we played simple and didn't try to do too much."

The strength should be in the midfield, where Wilson and Marshall return in the middle with Chang on one side. They will be joined by sophomore Alec Everts. Flowers is back at forward.

Eshelman is the stopper. Radebaugh is expected to play outside on defense or in the midfield.

Expected to start on defense are juniors Alex Jobin and Ben Kister in the middle and sophomore Matt Takacs on the left side. Seniors Brandon Takacs and Nick Elliott are vying for time on the right side, with junior Kellan Goble in net.

Sophomore Xander Sohalski may see time in center midfield.

Rounding out the roster are juniors Matthew Fee and Ethan Kuespert, sophomore Boris Kroprivica and freshman Jordan Watkins.

"We did a great job in the air, tackling and winning 50-50 balls for the first 25 minutes, then we kind of got worn down," Lewis said. "So, we're going to work hard on conditioning and finishing. We're not real deep and we want to move the ball, so we've got to get into game shape now."

Last year Gahanna went 6-0 in league play and won the Division I state title. Pickerington North (4-1-1), Pickerington Central (3-1-2), Reynoldsburg, Lancaster (2-3-1), Groveport (1-5) and Newark (0-6) followed.



*Aug. 31 - vs. Grove City

Sept. 2 - at Westerville South

Sept. 4 - at St. Charles

*Sept. 7 - at Newark

Sept. 9 - at Worthington Kilbourne

Sept. 11 - at Chillicothe

*Sept. 14 - at Pickerington North

Sept. 16 - vs. Hilliard Darby

Sept. 18 - at Columbus West

*Sept. 21 - vs. Lancaster

Sept. 23 - at Watkins Memorial

Sept. 25 - vs. Delaware

*Sept. 28 - at Groveport

*Oct. 5 - at Gahanna

Oct. 9 - at Crew Stadium vs. Westerville Central

*Oct. 12 - vs. Pickerington Central


Aug. 23 - vs. Johnstown

Aug. 24 - vs. Delaware

*Aug. 31 - at Grove City

*Sept. 7 - vs. Newark

Sept. 11 - vs. Chillicothe

*Sept. 14 - vs. Pickerington North

Sept. 16 - at Westerville North

Sept. 18 - at Hartley

*Sept. 21 - at Lancaster

*Sept. 28 - vs. Groveport

Oct. 2 - at Marysville

*Oct. 5 - vs. Gahanna

Oct. 9 - vs. Dublin Jerome

*Oct. 12 - at Pickerington Central

Oct. 14 - vs. Watkins Memorial

*OCC-Ohio game