Reynoldsburg Roundup: Girls soccer duo thriving under new coach

Jarrod Ulrey
ThisWeek group
Reynoldsburg senior Cassidy Collins (left) battles Groveport's Lyla Khanthachack for control of the ball earlier this season. Collins had scored 11 goals through 14 games and and classmate Ryanne Buck had 18 lead the Raiders. A year ago, Collins scored 22 goals and Buck had 20.

With a new coach and about half its starting lineup lost to graduation, the Reynoldsburg girls soccer team expected things to come together gradually this season.

Having a senior duo that produced more than 20 goals apiece last season has helped that transition.

Senior forward Cassidy Collins had scored 11 goals and senior forward Ryanne Buck had 18 goals through 14 games after leading the Raiders with 22 and 20 goals, respectively last season.

It also helps that both have played at the club level together under new Reynoldsburg coach Chris Merrick.

“From the beginning, we’ve grown as a team and have started to work together,” Collins said. “We have a little more chemistry on the field. Playing club for (Merrick) has really helped me. I started playing club for him before my junior year, and I feel like that really played a part in my season last year. We just need to keep working hard and playing prepared.”

Reynoldsburg was 6-6-2 overall and 2-1-1 in the OCC-Buckeye Division after beating Central Crossing 4-0 on Oct. 6 and closed the regular season Oct. 13 with a league game at Pickerington Central.

The Raiders earned their first league win over Groveport 8-3 on Sept. 15.

Buck scored all three goals in a 3-0 victory over Licking Heights on Sept. 26, and Collins assisted on two.

“We’ve been improving this season, and since (Merrick has) come in he’s been helping us a lot,” Buck said. “We’ve definitely become more of a team on the field and off the field. (Cassidy and I) play club together with him, so I definitely think we’re able to play together really well, are able to kick the ball off each other and pass and play balls through. It’s like we know where each other are on the field.”

While Collins hasn’t made her college decision, Buck is planning to join her sister, 2017 graduate Sam Buck, on the Ohio Dominican women’s team next season.

The Division I district tournament draw was Oct. 11, with the first-round games beginning Wednesday, Oct. 21.

Junior center back Sydney Frydl and junior defender Olivia Dulay have been other standouts, according to Merrick.

“Any time you have a new team and new kids dealing with a new coach, there are expectations that I have that maybe they haven’t had before,” Merrick said. “I preach work rate, simple soccer, passing and moving, and they’re getting that. It’s about melding them together and getting them to play on the same page. The chemistry has been getting better throughout the season. That first season is the learning curve, so whatever we can do in the tournament is great and hopefully next year we’ll see improvement.

“Everybody is doing their job, which is all you can ask. It’s not necessarily about superstars. It’s about working together as one unit. (Collins and Buck) do assist each other a lot. They usually are setting up the other player, which makes them unselfish.”

Runners ready

for league meet

The boys and girls cross country teams are preparing to compete in the OCC-Buckeye meet Saturday, Oct. 17, at Pickerington Central.

The Raiders will then travel to Hilliard Darby on Oct. 24 for the Division I district meet.

Both the boys and girls programs are coming off fifth-place finishes in the OCC-Ohio last season but have moved along with Central and Lancaster to the OCC-Buckeye, which also includes Central Crossing, Groveport and Newark.

On Oct. 3, the boys team scored 55 points to take first at the 22-team Cambridge Invitational as senior Seth Davis won the race in 16 minutes, 17.64 seconds.

He was followed by senior Mars Davis (seventh, 17:04.89), senior Dominic Sabo (10th, 17:34.71), freshman Jackson Powell (11th, 17:50.5) and junior Andy Potter (26th, 18:19.62), while freshman Alex Begeny and senior Mekhi Dejarnette also competed.

That came after a third-place finish (100) in the seven-team Bob Reall Invitational on Sept. 26 at Lancaster behind the host Golden Gales (33) and Dublin Coffman (38). Seth Davis was runner-up (16:37.9) and Mars Davis placed 11th (17:06.0).

The girls team has been led by senior Avril Moyer, who took first (18:50.9) at the Bob Reall Invitational as the Raiders finished fifth (131) behind champion Granville (33).

Moyer rested during the Cambridge Invitational, where Reynoldsburg finished fourth (149) of 20 teams behind champion Uniontown Green (50).

Freshman Emma Hinds led with a 22nd-place finish (21:45.12), followed by junior Paige Castello (33rd, 22:02.98), senior Kristin Sheets (34th, 22:05.88), senior Alyse Powell (43rd, 22:32.48) and junior Abby Robinson (46th, 22:43.14) while senior Macy Thompson also competed.

“(Moyer) is really on fire,” coach Bill Crane said. “Team-wise we aren’t quite where I want us, but we have a lot of season left with championship time rolling around. We have our best work ahead of us still. … OCC-wise, our kids want to be near the top. It’s a great opportunity to run some quality opponents and get ready for the districts, regionals and states.”

The Raiders' Carmen Heckman returns the ball against host Central Crossing on Sept. 22. The girls volleyball team, which won eight matches last season, was 10-6 overall after beating Westerville North on Oct. 3.

Volleyball team

taking big strides

After winning eight matches a year ago, the girls volleyball team nearly equaled that number during the first month of the season.

The Raiders were 10-6 overall after beating Westerville North in a pair of non-league matches Oct. 3.

The Raiders – who finished last at 2-8 in the OCC-Ohio last season – completed a season sweep of Groveport, winning 25-18, 25-21, 26-24 on Sept. 10 as senior outside hitter Jordan Brooks had 16 kills and 25-13, 25-23, 25-18 on Oct. 1 to improve to 4-2 in the OCC-Buckeye.

Brooks and freshmen Maren Chang (middle hitter), Carmen Heckman (outside hitter) and Sabrina Ripple (middle hitter) have been leading the offense, with Brooks, senior Ariyana Peters (defensive specialist), junior Emily Burt (defensive specialist/libero) and junior Kyra Frasier (setter) among the team leaders in digs.

The district tournament draw was Oct. 11 with the postseason beginning Monday, Oct. 19.

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