Since taking over as Reynoldsburg High School boys soccer coach in May, Tony Labudovski has spent as much time focusing on the mental side of the game with his players as he has on the scheme his program plans to play.

Since taking over as Reynoldsburg High School boys soccer coach in May, Tony Labudovski has spent as much time focusing on the mental side of the game with his players as he has on the scheme his program plans to play.

Slowly but surely, the changes in attitude that he was aiming for have begun to shine through.

"It's just been about finding consistency and just about getting rid of some egos from last year," Labudovski said. "They had (six) ties last year, which means they were hanging in games, so that's good. The soccer IQ is there; I've just got to put the pieces all together. If you train your body, you've got to train your mind as well."

Labudovski is a 2003 Reynoldsburg graduate who went on to play for Wright State as well as professionally. He replaced Thomie Timmons, who stepped down after his third season.

The Raiders went 3-7-6 overall last season, including losing to Westerville North 1-0 in the second round of the Division I district tournament.

Among the 10 seniors and six juniors on the team are several who were key players last season. Senior Ethan Hasson, who had 11 assists and will be at center midfielder, might be the most seasoned returnee.

Also back after playing key roles are seniors Austin Biller (defender), Bryce Bradley (midfielder/forward), Gabe Chadwell (defender), Mitch Klecan (forward) and Griffin Thompson (center back) and junior Gabe Philhower (goalkeeper).

The other seniors are Cameron Giles (forward), Ryan Kelly (goalie), Edwin Pabon (midfielder) and Cliff Wrighter (defender/midfielder).

Joining Philhower in the junior class are Ammar Abupakar (midfielder/forward), Obed Aidoo (forward), Gabe Blueter (defender), Garrett Chapman (defender) and David Gary (defender).

Sophomores Liam Bryan (defender) and Patrick Young (midfielder) round out the roster.

Reynoldsburg, which finished sixth (1-3-3) in the OCC-Ohio Division last season behind champion Gahanna (7-0), opens Tuesday, Aug. 23, at former league rival Groveport.

Groveport and Newark have moved to the OCC-Capital.

The biggest loss to graduation was forward Cole Mathias, who scored 11 goals last season to lead a seven-member senior class.

"It's going to be an interesting year," Labudovski said. "There's a lot of talent. I look forward to it. Last year was a roller-coaster ride. Sometimes you have a bad year, but sometimes you have a good year. I think we'll have a better team than we did last year."

Girls soccer team out to build depth

The members of the girls soccer team should "get their money's worth" this season, according to coach Jimmy Stevens.

Now in his third season, Stevens was hoping for better overall numbers than the 26 who are out this fall because that would have meant more rest time during games.

That lack of depth was among the factors that hurt the Raiders as they went 7-11 overall for the second consecutive season last fall.

The positive side is that nearly all of the members of the program will have the opportunity to play extensively.

"We're a small team with only 26 kids for our varsity and (junior varsity)," Stevens said. "What we'll end up doing with some of them is keeping track of their halves because everyone is allowed three halves in a day but not more than 42 for the season. We're going to have a team where everyone plays a lot of soccer."

Back to lead the offense is senior forward Sam Buck, who had 14 goals and four assists and made first-team all-league last season as the Raiders finished seventh (1-6) behind champion Pickerington North (6-0-1).

Also back is senior Tessa Hodnett, who sustained a season-ending injury last September but should be at center back. The other returning seniors are Taylor Moore (outside midfielder) and Danny Thatcher (outside back).

Rounding out the class are Jasmine Robinson (defender) and Natalie Truex (defender/midfielder).

Sophomores Julia Bazley (center back), Caitlyn McKean (forward) and Marykate Watkins (midfielder) are other key returnees.

Sophomore Alexis Langwasser (outside back) and freshmen Isa Fuentes (midfielder) and Alexis Sheffield (goalie) also should contribute.

The Raiders lost a 2016 senior class that featured Ceri Goff (second-team all-league), Asjah Sosa (special mention all-league) and Tanisha Thomas (honorable mention all-league).

"We're a good team," Stevens said. "We played this summer in some camps and ended up 13-3-1, but camp soccer is different than the regular season. The biggest challenge with our numbers is that the competition for some starting jobs isn't there. The depth isn't there, so we've been trying to build through the rec league club. We'll be good and we'll probably win half of our games, but we have to keep healthy and we have to have a little bit of luck."

julrey@thisweeknews.com

@UlreyThisWeek