The process of building the Reynoldsburg High School girls volleyball program has taken gradual strides forward the past three seasons.
After not winning a Division I district tournament match from 2006-14, the Raiders won their second postseason contest in three seasons last fall before falling in the second round.
This year, Reynoldsburg has its third coach in as many seasons as it looks to improve on a 10-14 finish.
"They're doing pretty well and working hard every day at practice," coach Brittney McKenna said. "I'm excited. They have some really skilled players and a great potential to go far."
McKenna is a 2011 Licking Heights graduate who has experience coaching at the junior high, junior varsity and club levels. Last fall, she was Reynoldsburg's j.v. coach.
The Raiders have four seniors in Tyra Barber (outside hitter/right-side hitter), DaNetra Franklin (defensive specialist), Madison Finnerty (right-side hitter) and Lindsey Long (right-side hitter).
Juniors Olivia Kirksey (outside hitter/middle hitter) and Jessica Ricks (outside hitter/setter) also are key returnees. Junior Leah Delco (middle hitter/outside hitter) is another key player.
Ricks is splitting the setter role with junior Kayla Ferguson.
Also on the roster are juniors Maya Carter (utility) and Jillian Straughter (defensive specialist).
"We have a good mix of girls to make it to where we need to be," McKenna said.
The Raiders opened with a 25-13, 25-11, 25-17 loss to Newark on Aug. 21. They then lost to New Albany 25-22, 25-17, 23-25, 25-8 on Aug. 23 and lost to Bloom-Carroll 25-17, 25-11 on Aug. 25.
Girls soccer team plans for move up
With 42 athletes out, the girls soccer team has added a few junior varsity B games in addition to its varsity and j.v. schedule.
There are five freshmen on varsity, including two who are starting, but that might be more of an indication of the growing talent that's coming through the program as opposed to a youth movement, according to fifth-year coach Jimmy Stevens.
"This is our biggest numbers ever," said Stevens, whose team went 8-10 last season. "Interest is growing. I do have a much bigger freshman class. There were some years they only had one or two freshmen. Last year I only had three seniors. I have nine freshmen that came out of club or who played an awful lot of (recreational soccer) or for a junior high team."
The Raiders opened with a 5-0 victory over Groveport on Aug. 17, beat Centennial 6-0 on Aug. 22 and beat Licking Heights 3-1 on Aug. 25.
Against Groveport, sophomore forward Ryanne Buck scored twice and junior midfielder Isa Fuentes, sophomore defender Cassidy Collins and freshman defender Leah Delancey all scored once. Buck also scored two goals against Centennial.
Juniors Alissa Richmond and Alexis Sheffield are at goalkeeper.
Also at defender are senior four-year starter Mary-Kate Watkins, senior Alexis Langwasser and freshman Sydney Frydl.
Joining Buck at forward are seniors Katie Hatcher and Alyssa Shiffman.
Senior Julia Bazley returns at midfielder, where she joins Fuentes and freshman Baylee Phillips.
Senior Caitlyn McKean was expected to be among the top returnees but likely is out for the season with a knee injury.
Also looking to contribute are seniors Hana Fishatsion (defender) and Skylar Loebrich (midfielder), juniors Polly Antrim (midfielder), Kendall Craiglow (defender) and Aliyah Webb (midfielder), sophomores Lauren Miars (midfielder) and Taylor Starks (forward) and freshmen Olivia Dulay (goalie) and Carly Jones (defender).
"They like to talk in Reynoldsburg about how we'll (become a more competitive team), but at some point in time you've just got to get there," Stevens said. "If you've got seven or eight seniors on the team, let's play hard and make your move. That's what we're hoping for."
Aug. 17 -- at Groveport
Aug. 22 -- vs. Centennial
Aug. 25 -- at Licking Heights
Aug. 30 -- vs. Worthington Kilbourne
Sept. 1 -- at Watkins Memorial
Sept. 4 -- at Central Crossing
Sept. 6 -- at Delaware
Sept. 11 -- vs. Newark
*Sept. 13 -- at Gahanna
Sept. 15 -- at Zanesville
*Sept. 18 -- vs. Grove City
*Sept. 25 -- at Pickerington Central
Sept. 28 -- vs. Westerville South
*Oct. 2 -- vs. Pickerington North
Oct. 4 -- vs. Westerville North
*Oct. 9 -- at Lancaster
Aug. 21 -- at Newark
Aug. 23 -- vs. New Albany
Aug. 25 -- at Bloom-Carroll
Aug. 28 -- at Westerville South
Aug. 30 -- vs. Central Crossing
*Sept. 4 -- vs. Gahanna
*Sept. 5 -- at Grove City
Sept. 8 -- at Westerville North
Sept. 11 -- vs. Whitehall
*Sept. 13 -- vs. Pickerington Central
Sept. 17 -- at Zanesville
*Sept. 19 -- at Pickerington North
*Sept. 25 -- vs. Lancaster
*Sept. 27 -- at Gahanna
Oct. 1 -- vs. Logan
*Oct. 2 -- vs. Grove City
*Oct. 4 -- at Pickerington Central
*Oct. 9 -- vs. Pickerington North
Oct. 10 -- at Whetstone
*Oct. 11 -- at Lancaster
Below are the coming schedules for the Reynoldsburg cross country, boys golf, boys soccer and girls tennis teams:
Sept. 1 -- Granville Invitational at Bryn Du Mansion
Sept. 4 -- Licking Heights Invitational
Aug. 30 -- Watkins Memorial at Blacklick Woods
Sept. 4 -- Lancaster Invitational at Lancaster Country Club
Sept. 1 -- At Watkins Memorial
Sept. 4 -- Home vs. Central Crossing
*Aug. 30 -- Home vs. Pickerington Central
*Sept. 4 -- At Pickerington North