Reynoldsburg High School girls volleyball coach Zach Franklin's preseason training with the players not only included teaching technique on the court but also addressing the mental aspect of the game.

Reynoldsburg High School girls volleyball coach Zach Franklin's preseason training with the players not only included teaching technique on the court but also addressing the mental aspect of the game.

Franklin, who is in his second season with the Raiders, was pleased with his team's progress heading into the season.

"We're definitely doing better," Franklin said. "Last year, we had some attitude issues. We're dealing with a lot less drama. We have a group that likes each other and enjoys playing with each other and learning on the court."

Franklin said communication is key to the team's improvement.

"We're getting better and better at talking and communicating," he said. "We're doing a better job of being a team and coming together as a team."

Reynoldsburg opened the season 0-3, losing Aug. 27 to DeSales (25-4, 25-11) and Teays Valley (25-19, 25-21), and Aug. 29 to Worthington Kilbourne (25-10, 25-11, 25-15).

Reynoldsburg is looking to improve on last season, when it finished 3-19 overall and went 2-12 in the OCC-Ohio Division to finish seventh, behind Pickerington North (14-0), Grove City (11-3), Newark (10-4), Gahanna (8-6), Lancaster (7-7) and Pickerington Central (4-10) and ahead of Groveport (0-14).

Both of the Raiders' league wins came against Groveport - 25-19, 25-23, 19-25, 25-20 and 23-25, 25-18, 22-25, 25-20, 17-15.

The Raiders lost to Franklin Heights 25-13, 25-20, 25-20 in the first round of the Division I district tournament last season.

Reynoldsburg, which opened OCC-Ohio play Aug. 30 against Grove City, will play host to Newark in a league match on Thursday, Sept. 1.

To help promote team chemistry, the Raiders held a team-bonding event on Aug. 24 at the home of senior defensive specialist and libero Rachel Few.

"We seem to be more positive toward each other this year and team-bonding helps with that," Few said.

Reynoldsburg returns only two starters from last season in Few and senior Noelle Day, who also is a defensive specialist and libero.

"Noelle and Rachel have been very good," Franklin said. "They're trying to get comfortable. They're the ones who have led coming together as a team."

Day, Few and junior right-side hitter Jessie Alianiello, who saw limited time on varsity last season, are the captains. The only other returnee is junior outside hitter Mackenzie Snare.

Freshman Alexa Jeffers will be the setter.

"Alexa is still learning the game, so it's tough to be just learning the game as a setter and get thrown into varsity competition," Franklin said.

Others on the team are sophomores Nia Coleman (outside hitter), Loegan Brzezinski (middle hitter) and Kaylin Davison (middle hitter).

"We have a really young team this year and I'm the oldest on the team, but I think it's going to work out well," Day said. "We have some really good hitters and the defenders are getting better, so I think we'll be good."

Franklin said North again is the team to beat in the OCC-Ohio, with Newark possibly contending for the title. Newark is led by two-time league Player of the Year Anni Thomasson, a 6-foot-1 junior middle hitter who has verbally committed to the University of Kentucky.

North finished 25-2 overall after losing to Cincinnati Mount Notre Dame 25-16, 25-14, 25-18 in a Division I regional semifinal.

"We want to get more than three wins," Franklin said. "I want to win the close games that are winnable. That might be six or seven maybe. (The players) want to learn more about volleyball and learn the game, which is good because what I enjoy teaching is what's going on in the game."