Her first girls basketball practice begins in about three weeks, but Reynoldsburg High School senior Shiloh Murphy isn't necessarily counting the days.
She's too busy enjoying herself with the girls volleyball team.
Although Reynoldsburg went a combined 6-39 the last two seasons and was 5-15 overall before playing Pickerington North on Oct. 2, Murphy wouldn't trade the three years she's spent competing and building relationships during her fall sport.
The 5-foot-9 outside hitter attended Zanesville as a freshman but has been on varsity in both sports since transferring to Reynoldsburg as a sophomore.
"I like basketball but volleyball's fun and I figured I might as well keep playing," Murphy said. "Our chemistry is really good."
Murphy is one of four seniors with Emma Few, Paige Lovensheimer and Mackenzie Snare.
The Raiders picked up their first win Aug. 25 over Teays Valley (25-17, 25-20) and also beat Columbus Academy (25-19, 18-25, 25-12, 25-15 on Sept. 5) and Westerville South (25-16, 25-16 on Sept. 15).
On Sept. 24 against visiting Worthington Christian, Reynoldsburg won the first game but lost 18-25, 25-11, 25-14, 25-13. Worthington Christian entered the week 12-5.
"As a team we're starting to come together more and the coaches are pushing us harder," said Murphy, who has verbally committed to play basketball at Morehead State. "Our offense is really improving and we're starting to get back in the positions we need to be in. (Coach Amber Harris) just told us (after the Worthington Christian match) that we have the potential to do better, but we just have to want it for ourselves."
"I feel like every match we get better," Snare said. "It takes determination to get there and I think we're improving. I've had three coaches in four years and there's just been a lot more teaching this year. (Harris has) been very helpful with our questions."
Harris, a 2000 Reynoldsburg graduate, has been impressed with her team's athleticism and stresses the players need to believe in their abilities.
That's been a challenge at times because of the Raiders' lack of victories in recent seasons.
"They just need to have confidence," Harris said. "They do well and are surprised by it. They communicated and worked well as a team (in the first game against Worthington Christian) and we played a really good match against Grove City (a 25-14, 25-16, 25-10 loss Sept. 20) and they're one of the top teams in the OCC. The scores don't necessarily reflect that we're still improving every single game and every single practice."
Girls tennis team ready for tourney
Although senior Rebecca Kibe and junior Paris Ring weren't seeded among the top four doubles teams for the Division I sectional girls tennis tournament Thursday, Oct. 4, and Saturday, Oct. 6, on their home court, coach Les Somogyi believes the duo has a strong chance to advance to district Oct. 12 and 13 at Hilliard Davidson.
Olentangy senior Megan Brdicka and her freshman sister, Brianna Brdicka, are the second seed and are in the same bracket with Kibe and Ring. Megan Brdicka was a Division I district qualifier in singles last season.
In singles, senior Brittany Condefer opens Thursday, Oct. 4, against Pallavi Mannava, who is Olentangy's third-singles player. Worthington Kilbourne senior Kelley Jiang is the fourth seed and also is in Condefer's portion of the bracket.
Junior Keisha Cummings and sophomore Diamond Person also are competing in singles and senior Peggy Thompson and freshman Jadelyn Cheng comprise the Raiders' other doubles team at sectional.
The top four finishers in singles and doubles advance to district.
"Despite the fact that none of our girls got seeded, I'm very encouraged by our draw," Somogyi said. "The doubles team of Kibe and Ring has gotten a draw that at least could take them to the semifinal of the sectional. They have a very good chance just because of the luck of the draw. Brittany Condefer also got a good draw and has a very good chance of making it to the final four."
Also boosting Somogyi's optimism entering the tournament was his team's play during the OTCA state team tournament.
After the Raiders beat Gahanna 3-2 in a first-round match Aug. 29, they lost to Upper Arlington 5-0 in a second-round match Sept. 24.
Somogyi was encouraged, however, that the doubles team of Kibe and Ring won two games and that Condefer and Cummings in singles and the doubles team of Cheng and freshman Ciara Boykins all won one game.
"We lost 0-5, but I've never ever seen my team play so well," Somogyi said.
"They lost miserably, but they didn't lie down and die. They fought. They rose to the occasion and didn't horseplay. It made my day."
On Sept. 29 in the OCC-Ohio tournament at home, Condefer was second in first singles, Cummings was second in third singles, Kibe placed third in second singles and Ring and Person were third in first doubles.
Reynoldsburg scored 16 points to place second behind Pickerington Central (35).