Even though it has three matches and the OCC Challenge still remaining on its regular-season schedule, the Reynoldsburg High School boys volleyball team already has far surpassed what it accomplished during its inaugural season last spring.
Adding to the increased success it has enjoyed on the court is that at least two of the players in the program could have a future in the sport after their time with the Raiders has concluded.
In just two seasons playing the sport, seniors Gabe Donaldson and Aidan Hauter have shown significant skill progression. Donaldson is a 6-foot-5 left-hander who usually plays opposite hitter, and Hauter is 6-3 and has seen time at setter and outside hitter.
"Gabe Donaldson has grown by leaps and bounds," coach Matt Bailey said. "He's a 6-5 lefty and I expect big things from him when he goes to college. He's starting to step into his own to be one of our go-to people and his defense has really improved lately, which is what we need going forward.
"Aidan is looking to play in college, (and) I'm relying on him to take on more of a hitting role for us. Hopefully our defense will keep getting better to where he can be in the offense more as well."
The Raiders, who went 2-19 last season, were 5-11 overall and 0-9 in the OCC-Ohio Division before playing Pickerington Central on April 30 and Dublin Coffman on May 1.
Reynoldsburg snapped a four-match losing streak when it beat Eastmoor Academy 25-14, 25-20, 25-15 on April 17.
Hauter is planning to attend Wittenberg, where he'll major in pre-physical therapy and is planning to be a part of the men's volleyball program.
He played soccer when he attended Eastmoor as a freshman before transferring to Reynoldsburg as a sophomore and picked up volleyball last spring.
Hauter spent last season at setter before having his role expand this spring.
"Things have been getting better," he said. "We've kind of jelled over the last two years, and overall I think we're doing pretty well. Last year I only (was a setter) but this year I've started to hit more, which is good because I can affect the game more.
"This is my second year (playing volleyball). Coach came to me and just said, 'You've got to come play for me,' and I said, 'Fair enough.' It teaches you and is a brotherhood. They all care for you."
Donaldson is excited for what can be accomplished during his final few weeks in the program.
The Raiders recently added junior Bryce Jenkins, a middle hitter who transferred from Licking Heights and sat out the season's first half.
"I feel like from last year we've progressed more," Donaldson said. "We still haven't (extensively used) all of our weapons because we have a transfer.
"Last year my attacking wasn't as good as I thought it would be, but I played club over the offseason and I worked a lot on it and have been able to execute more on it."
Tennis squad continues battling
The boys tennis team is tuning up for the Division I postseason, which begins with a sectional tournament May 10 and 12 at home.
After losing to Delaware 4-1 on April 25 and beating Eastmoor 5-0 on April 26, the Raiders were 4-9 overall.
They lost to Pickerington North 5-0 on April 20 to finish 0-5 in the OCC-Ohio. Their closest league match came April 10 when they lost 4-1 to Grove City as Boban Mihajlov won at first singles.
Mihajlov also won his match in three sets over Watkins Memorial's Bryce Clear on April 18.
Freshmen Dane Myers and Brian McClain also are showing promise, according to coach Les Somogyi.
"We've had some close matches and, of course, had some hard matches," Somogyi said. "I've been pleased with Boban Mihajlov's performance. He's my No. 1 player and he's a hard worker. I'm also pleased with my two freshman kids who have been playing second doubles.
"They don't have a lot of wins, but they're really looking very much forward to their future years because they show a lot of promise."
Postseason nears in baseball, softball
The baseball and softball teams also are approaching the postseason.
The Division I district tournament drawing for the baseball team was April 29.
The Raiders, who swept a doubleheader from Ready 6-2 and 14-0 on April 21, were 6-11 overall and 0-10 in the OCC-Ohio before facing Pickerington Central on April 30 and Pickerington North on May 1.
The Raiders also have a league makeup against Lancaster from April 23.
In the 14-0 victory over Ready, Reece Crabtree pitched three innings to pick up the victory and Drew Hall struck out three while giving up one hit and no walks in two innings of relief. Hall had three RBI and two runs scored, Mike Tooker went 2-for-2 with four RBI and six others had at least one hit.
In the 6-2 win, Brock Mason struck out eight in six innings to earn the victory and Justin Lyons and Brock Mason led the offense with two hits apiece.
The softball team also learned its Division I district tournament drawing April 29.
The Raiders were 10-6 overall and 3-3 in the OCC-Ohio after beating Grove City 8-3 on April 25 and Westerville North 5-1 on April 27 and splitting a doubleheader April 28, when it beat Watterson 9-1 and lost to Westerville South 6-2. They also played Pickerington North on April 30.
Reynoldsburg swept a doubleheader April 21, beating Hamilton Township 6-5 and Centennial 13-3. Mackenzie Huey was the winning pitcher and had two hits against Hamilton Township, and Huey had three hits and two RBI in support of pitchers Kylee Durham and Fury Caldwell in the win over the Stars.
Raiders announce college decisions
Several Reynoldsburg athletes recently announced their college decisions.
In football, D'Lacy Bass will play for Malone, Kyle Hawthorne will play for Heidelberg and Gabe Philhower will compete for Ohio Wesleyan.
In men's soccer, Obed Aidoo will play for Urbana and Gabe Blueter will compete for Marietta.
Jamiel Goliday will play men's basketball for Asbury and Jalynda Salley will play women's basketball for Coppin State.