Beal City tops Pine River

ELEVATION: Pine River’s Jamie Justin (5) goes up for a kill on Tuesday against Beal City. (Herald Review photo/John Raffel)
ELEVATION: Pine River’s Jamie Justin (5) goes up for a kill on Tuesday against Beal City. (Herald Review photo/John Raffel)

LEROY — It was all Beal City Tuesday night.

The Aggies controlled the net and various other parts of their volleyball match against Pine River in a battle of two of the top teams in the Highland Conference making their league debuts.

Beal City snuck past Pine River 25-22 in the first game and dominated the next two 25-15, 25-10 to take the sweep.

The Aggies are 14-3. Pine River falls to 15-6.

“I’d say we had a great team effort and that’s why we won,” said Beal City coach Kelly David. “We struggled a little bit on serve receive. Our hitters were being very smart.”

“Their hitting really got us,” said Pine River senior Christie Nelson. “We didn’t get many blocks on them. We’re coming in here to battle. We thought it would be close. We wanted to take them in five.”

Senior Monica David and junior Addie Schumacher were dominant at the net for Beal City.

“They had the best kill percentage for us but all the hitters are putting the ball in play like they’re supposed to,” Kelly David said. “Our setters are doing a good job of moving the ball around.”

Beal City is considered by some observers to have state contention potential.

“We have the potential,” David said. “We’re learning every game. We’re working very hard.”

Jamie Justin had five kills and three blocks for the Bucks while Kassy Nelson had 11 digs and Cayman Gatt had eight.

“It was definitely a rough night for us,” said Pine River coach Jana Dennis. “We started out real strong but couldn’t keep the tenacity needed to gain a win. I felt all parts of our game were strong at times but unfortunately they just weren’t strong at the same time.” Kassy Nelson did a great job leading in the backrow and being vocal. Michelle Kelsey did a great job coming of the bench.

Christie Nelson’s two aces late in the first game cut the Aggies’ lead to 24-21. But the visitors went on to win that game and cruised in the next two.

“I think our setter-hitter chemistry was not there (Tuesday),” Dennis said. “Beal City was what we expected. We didn’t play our A game.”

If the two teams meet again later this season, “the key is for our setters to put the ball where it needs to so our hitters can do their job,” Dennis said.

Pine River plays at the Benze Central tourney on Saturday.