Reynoldsburg Roundup: Raiders boys volleyball squad continuing to progress

Jarrod Ulrey
ThisWeek group
Senior Al Coumbassa has been one of the top players for the Reynoldsburg boys volleyball team. The Raiders are preparing for the Division I East Region tournament, which begins May 21.

Although he had never played the sport, Al Coumbassa had heard enough about the Reynoldsburg boys volleyball program to give it a try last spring. 

The same was true for Monty Rollins, who, like Coumbassa, was excited to come out for the first time a year ago only to have the season canceled because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. 

Both are part of a five-player senior class for the Raiders this season. 

“We tried to play our junior year but because of COVID we couldn’t,” Coumbassa said. “We wanted to do something in the spring. The program is kind of fresh and people were asking us to come and play.” 

Coumbassa is a setter and Rollins is a middle hitter and outside hitter, and both also have played different roles from an emotional standpoint as the Raiders have begun to pick up steam. 

Reynoldsburg lost its first six matches and 12 of its first 13 before a stretch in which it split six matches. 

After losing to New Albany 25-14, 25-19, 25-18 on May 10 and Dublin Coffman 26-24, 25-21, 25-15 on May 11, the Raiders were 4-19 overall. 

They finished 3-11 in the OCC-Ohio Division, with the first league win in program history coming 25-16, 25-22, 19-25, 25-20 over Westerville South on April 20. 

Reynoldsburg also beat the Wildcats 25-17, 25-17, 25-23 on May 5. 

“I’m more of a guy who gets everybody in shape and (Coumbassa is) there with positive support,” Rollins said. “Our sets have been strong and we have two good outsides.” 

Reynoldsburg, which went 2-19 in 2017, 5-18 in 2018 and 1-24 in 2019, is looking for the program’s initial postseason victory, with its first two seasons ending with tournament losses to  South. 

The Division I East Region tournament drawing was May 16 and the postseason begins May 21. 

“When you’re struggling as a program, winning cures all,” coach Matt Bailey said. “It gets a little bit of your confidence up, and if we can get some wins here at the end of the season it should carry us over into tournament time.” 

Coumbassa set a program record for assists in a match with 28 in a 23-25, 25-19, 25-14, 29-31, 15-11 victory over Delaware on April 29. 

The Raiders spent the first three weeks without Sam Gilmore, a senior middle hitter who was out because of COVID-19 protocols but has been among the team’s top players since his return. 

“Having Sam come back is helping out a lot,” Bailey said. “He’s able to help with the defense and Al Coumbassa keeps getting better and better each time he comes out. He’s going to break a lot of the setting records for us this year. For a brand-new player to have that confidence and ability in his first year out is great. Monty’s starting to come into his own. 

“They’re starting to get comfortable with each other finally. It’s a lineup I can finally stick with. They’re getting used to playing around this person and this person, and it’s just easier. As long as they stick together and not really get down on themselves too much, they (can) have fun. We’ve just got to really let the game come to us.” 

Jamiona Ross and the Raiders are competing in the Division I, district 1 meet at Hilliard Darby. The meet concludes May 22, and the top four in each event advance to the regional May 26 and 28 at Pickerington North.

Postseason begins 

for track teams 

The boys and girls track and field teams are competing in the Division I, district 1 meet May 18, 20 and 22 at Hilliard Darby. 

The top four in each event advance to the regional May 26 and 28 at Pickerington North. 

The Raiders, who competed in the OCC-Buckeye Division meet May 13 and 15 at Lancaster, entered the postseason with high hopes for their girls sprint corps. 

“It’s been going really well,” senior Adja Mbow said. “Our (1,600-meter relay) is pretty good this year and so are our (400 and 800) relays.” 

Mbow has been on the 1,600 relay with senior Kara Cannon, junior Jamiona Ross and sophomore Hollyn Tillman. 

Senior Kasha Rhodes and Ross were among the top runners along with Mbow in 2019, while junior Milan Patterson is a key returnee in the long jump. 

In the final tune-up before the league meet, Reynoldsburg traveled to Upper Arlington on May 7 for the Larkin/Crosten Invitational.  

Before the meet was canceled because of bad weather, preliminary races were held in six events and junior Markez Gillam ran 10.97 seconds in the boys 100 for one of his fastest times of the season. 

Junior Ibrahim Fall and sophomore Tehron Spencer, who competed in the preliminaries of the 200 and the 110 hurdles, respectively, at the Larkin/Crosten, are two others who entered the postseason with high expectations. 

Softball team loses

postseason opener

The 37th-seeded softball team opened the Division I district tournament May 10 at home with a 10-9 loss to 40th-seeded Central Crossing in the first round. 

The Raiders trailed 6-3 heading into the bottom of the sixth but scored five times to take an 8-6 lead. The Comets answered with four runs in the top of the seventh and held Reynoldsburg to one run in the bottom of the inning. 

Reynoldsburg closed the season with a 15-3 loss to Lancaster on May 11 to finish 5-19. 

Before falling 11-1 to Pickerington Central on May 6, the Raiders snapped a three-game losing streak with a 13-12 victory over Licking Heights on May 1. 

During the regular season, the Raiders beat Central Crossing 14-10 on April 22 and had their other game against the Comets postponed because of bad weather. 

julrey@thisweeknews.com 

@UlreyThisWeek