Coming off a season in which most of its key players were underclassmen, the Reynoldsburg girls volleyball team enjoyed what it considers a productive offseason.

The Raiders' top two players, seniors Jessica Ricks (outside hitter/middle hitter/setter) and Olivia Kirksey (outside hitter/middle hitter), recently committed to play for UNC-Charlotte and South Carolina Upstate, respectively.

In addition, Reynoldsburg found time to concentrate on jelling and creating a more optimistic attitude after enduring a 5-19 finish under its third coach in as many seasons.

"We have seven seniors this year, and it's been going pretty well," second-year coach Brittney McKenna said. "Our scrimmages went really well and it's just a whole different culture, all positivity this year. We're working together to be a team this year."

Ricks, who also is a two-time Division I state qualifier in the 100-meter hurdles in track and field, was a first-team all-OCC-Ohio Division honoree last season as the Raiders went 1-9 to tie Lancaster for fifth behind co-champions Grove City and Pickerington Central (both 8-2).

Kirksey was honorable mention all-league.

Reynoldsburg opened Aug. 20 with a 22-25, 25-15, 19-25, 25-17, 15-10 loss to Newark and fell to New Albany 25-9, 23-25, 25-18, 25-14 on Aug. 22. It begins OCC-Ohio action Tuesday, Sept. 3, at home against Gahanna.

The matchup with Newark was much closer than a season ago, when the Raiders lost to the Wildcats 25-13, 25-11, 25-17.

The other seniors are Maya Carter (outside hitter/middle hitter), Leah Delco (outside hitter/middle hitter), Kayla Ferguson (setter), Elysia LaPrade (middle hitter/outside hitter) and Jillian Straughter (libero).

Sophomores Kaylynn Gianettino (outside hitter/middle hitter) and Kyra Frasier (setter) both have been battling injuries but should be key contributors.

Others looking to contribute include juniors Mica Crockett (outside hitter/middle hitter), Arianne Melendez (outside hitter/middle hitter) and Aiyana Peters (outside hitter/middle hitter) and freshman Abi Pursell (outside hitter/middle hitter).

"We've got a lot of seniors and we're going to be really strong this year," Kirksey said. "We have stacked hitters this year and practice has been looking really good. This year is going to be brand new because we all get along, we jell together and during our scrimmages you could see that we were playing together and not individually."

julrey@thisweeknews.com

@UlreyThisWeek

Schedules

Below are the coming schedules for the Reynoldsburg cross country, boys golf, boys soccer, girls soccer, girls tennis and girls volleyball teams:

CROSS COUNTRY

Aug. 31 -- Granville Invitational at Bryn Du Mansion

Sept. 3 -- Licking Heights Invitational

BOYS GOLF

Sept. 4 -- Watkins Memorial at Blacklick Woods

BOYS SOCCER

Aug. 29 -- At Upper Arlington

Sept. 3 -- At Central Crossing

GIRLS SOCCER

Aug. 29 -- At Worthington Kilbourne

Sept. 3 -- Home vs. Central Crossing

GIRLS TENNIS

*Aug. 29 -- At Pickerington Central

*Sept. 3 -- Home vs. Pickerington North

GIRLS VOLLEYBALL

Aug. 29 -- At Central Crossing

*Sept. 3 -- Home vs. Gahanna

*League contest