Reynoldsburg Roundup: Girls volleyball squad taking big steps forward

Jarrod Ulrey
ThisWeek group
Senior Jordan Brooks, a 5-foot-11 outside hitter, has helped the Reynoldsburg girls volleyball team enjoy a strong season. “The reason everything has really come together slowly but surely is because all of our coaches are very good coaches,” she said.

Jordan Brooks did not come out for the Reynoldsburg girls volleyball team a year ago, but she elected to return for her senior season this fall.

It’s a decision she has not regretted, especially considering the improvement she's been a part of fostering throughout the program.

After winning five matches in 2018 and eight last season, Reynoldsburg was 10-8 overall before playing Pickerington North on Oct. 14 and 5-4 in the OCC-Buckeye Division before facing Pickerington Central on Oct. 15.

“The reason everything has really come together slowly but surely is because all of our coaches are very good coaches,” Brooks said. “We’ve had to learn discipline and they’re very knowledgeable with volleyball. Being one of the oldest players on the team holds a lot more weight, but it’s definitely a good weight. I can show our attitude and persistence and that you have to try hard every time.”

Brooks, who grew up competing for the Mintonette club program and is hoping to play collegiately, is a 5-foot-11 outside hitter and the leader of a five-member senior class that also includes right-side hitter Mica Crockett and defensive specialists Arianne Melendez and Ariyana Peters as key contributors.

Freshmen Maren Chang (middle hitter), Carmen Heckman (outside hitter) and Sabrina Ripple (middle hitter) all are at least 5-10 and have added a spark to the attack.

Junior setter Kyra Frasier has guided the offense, according to first-year coach Cassie Tackett.

“I do have some good freshmen,” Tackett said. “All of my kids have really come together and bought into the program itself and are working hard. We’re not just good players, but we’re good people on and off the court and that’s all the way down to my seventh-graders.”

Reynoldsburg was seeded 26th for the Division I district tournament and opened Oct. 20 at 18th-seeded Big Walnut, with the winner to play 24th-seeded Hilliard Darby on Thursday, Oct. 22, at the home of the better-seeded team. The winner of that match faces top-seeded Olentangy Orange or 38th-seeded Groveport on Oct. 29 in a district semifinal.

“Jordan Brooks and Kyra Frasier are wonderful,” Tackett said. “Jordan is a great (player) who’s overcome a lot of things in her volleyball career and it’s been a work in progress, but she’s come leaps and bounds from when I first met her two months ago. Our strongest point has been hitting the ball. Our back row is pretty solid for the most part. It’s been about really putting it all together.”

Reynoldsburg senior Jamison Boykins closed his season in a Division I sectional, as he shot a 79 to miss advancing to district by two strokes. Boykins was the overall medalist for the OCC-Buckeye with a 73.75 average.

Raubenolt competes

at district in golf

Grant Raubenolt closed his freshman season with the boys golf team on a high note.

After averaging 84.0 in OCC-Buckeye action to earn second-team all-league honors and help his team finish second (9-3) behind Pickerington Central (12-0), Raubenolt shot 77 on Oct. 6 in a Division I sectional at Turnberry to tie for 12th.

He ended up in a three-way playoff for the final two district-qualifying spots and earned the second when he shot a 5 on the second playoff hole while Marysville’s Justin DeHoff shot a 6.

Then on Oct. 13 in the district tournament at Apple Valley, Raubenolt again shot 77, this time tying for 20th. He missed advancing to state by five strokes.

“It was very exciting to come out (to district) and shoot a good score,” Raubenolt said. “(The course) played pretty fair. I learned that you have to be a lot stronger mentally to come out here and play well and be smart with what shots you take.”

Reynoldsburg finished 10th (334) in the 15-team sectional behind champion Olentangy Liberty (297).

Senior Jamison Boykins shot 79 to miss advancing to district by two strokes after he qualified for district last season. He was the overall medalist for the OCC-Buckeye with a 73.75 average.

Juniors Evan Litton and Alex Perez each shot 89 at sectional and freshman Braylon Polley rounded out the competitors.

Litton averaged 89.0 and Perez averaged 93.25 in the four rounds of the OCC-Buckeye to each earn honorable mention all-league.

The only other freshman at district to finish higher than Raubenolt was St. Charles’ Leo Walling, who shot 72 to place third and qualify for state, while Dublin Coffman freshman Ryan Schiefferle also shot 77.

“(Boykins) had a couple bad holes (at sectional) on the back 9,” coach Scott Brewer said. “(Raubenolt) tied for (20th at district), so that’s really great. He was the second-best freshman in the whole entire group if you want to look at it overall.

“Finishing second in the OCC and only getting beat in the OCC by Pickerington Central, and Jamison closing the deal the last day (of league competition) and being medalist, that was obviously the high point.”

Most of tennis

team to return

Of the seven competitors who represented the girls tennis team in a Division I sectional Oct. 8 at home, five are eligible to return.

Despite the low number of seniors, the Raiders went 15-7 overall and placed third (3-2) in the OCC-Buckeye a season after going 6-12 and winning one OCC-Ohio match.

Freshman Kareen Meoko was the third seed for the sectional after splitting time between first and second singles in the regular season and had her season end with a 6-4, 6-2 loss to New Albany’s Madison Spiess in a quarterfinal.

Sophomore Olivia Cox, who also spent time at first and second singles, lost to top-seeded Dani Schoenly of Olentangy Liberty 6-0, 6-0 in a quarterfinal.

Also competing in sectional singles was sophomore Lorelei Dunlap, who lost 6-0, 6-2 to Olentangy’s Ava Estep in a play-in match.

The doubles team of sophomore Rowan Toole and freshman Isabella Boskovska lost to Pickerington North’s Corinna Moesle and Tasha Miller 6-2, 2-6, 6-0 in a quarterfinal.

The other doubles representative, seniors Emili Pavlovska and Natasha Madagi, lost to Logan’s Madachi Roberts and Lily Sauer 6-0, 6-2 in the first round.

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BOYS GOLF

OCC-Buckeye standings: Pickerington Central (12-0), Reynoldsburg (9-3), Lancaster (6-6), Newark (3-9), Central Crossing (0-12)

Senior lost: Jamison Boykins

Key returnees: Evan Litton, Alex Perez, Braylon Polley and Grant Raubenolt

Postseason: 10th (334) at sectional behind champion Olentangy Liberty (297)

GIRLS TENNIS

Record: 15-7 overall

OCC-Buckeye standings: Pickerington Central (5-0), Lancaster (4-1), Reynoldsburg (3-2), Newark (2-3), Central Crossing (1-4), Groveport (0-5)

Seniors lost: Lilly Glover-Oakleaf, Natasha Madagi and Emili Pavlovska

Key returnees: Isabella Boskovska, Olivia Cox, Lorelei Dunlap, Kareen Meoko and Rowan Toole