Chippewa Hills earns district title over Reed City

BIG RAPIDS  — A wild 34-32 Chippewa Hills victory over Reed City in the third game of Thursday’s Class B districts finals was a classic illustration of how even the two squads have been this year and in previous seasons.

But Thursday was Chippewa Hills’ night with the Warriors using that marathon two-point victory to post a 3-0 sweep over Reed City for the district title.

The Coyotes had defeated Chip Hills in last season’s district finals and also this year at Reed City in a Central State Activities Association match. But the Warriors came out strong and dominated the first game for a 25-15 win, pulled through in the second set 25-20 and survived the marathon third game that gives the Warriors the coveted district title a trip to the regional semifinals at Pinconning on Tuesday.

“I know my doctor’s going to hate me with my blood pressure,” Chip Hills coach Abby Snyder joked afterwards. “It was awesome. They worked so hard. They deserved it. They worked for it every step of the way.”

The Coyotes, down 2-0, wanted to get the Game 3 win and try to switch the momentum. A Michaela Reed kill gave them a 19-16 advantage. Reed City built a 24-22 lead but couldn’t get the 25th point as both teams went back-and-forth trying to end it. Finally, with the Warriors up 33-32 after the Coyotes hit the ball out of bounds, Guy fired one of her screaming attacks for the 34th and final point.

The Coyotes were having problems getting their hits in bounds in the first game and fell behind 18-8. Brooke Lewandowski served an ace and two plays later, Guy’s tip produced the 25th point.

Riley Reyes served an ace and another point for a 10-1 advantage in the second game. Guy and Jacolyn Mullins of Reed City, continued a fierce battle at the net. Mullins recorded a kill but Chippewa Hills still had a comfortable 14-5 lead.  Heather Tacey served five straight points as the Coyotes started making their move and trailed only 17-12. The Coyotes closed the gap to four points before Guy slammed a kill for the 25th point.

“We had some nerves to start,” said Reed City coach Don Patterson. “We played really hard. I don’t think our block bothered them as much as the first time we saw them.”

A Reed City win in the third game could have made it a new ballgame, both coaches agreed.

“A break here or there and that goes either way, then who knows?” Patterson said. “Momentum shifts and it’s such a game of momentum. It was coming our way. (Chippewa Hills) did a good job too. They dug a lot of balls. Not a lot of kills for us tonight.”

“I told the girls if we’re going to get it done, we need to start off strong and stay strong in three games and we don’t want them to get the momentum back,” Snyder said. “Reed City is a very good team at gaining momentum again. We wanted to make sure that we kept that momentum on our side and got it done.”

For the Coyotes, who ended at 29-20-1, Mullins had 16 kills, a block and 37 digs; Reed contributed an ace, five kills and five blocks, plus 10 digs; Alaina Woodard had two kills and two digs; and Natalie Westhoff added a kill, four blocks and 10 digs.

“We’re both in the same conference together and it’s definitely a rivalry,” Snyder said. “We’ve always had one with them and it’s always a good time. Once we saw the draw for districts and we saw what we could possibly get, we were ready to go.”