Coyote juniors bolster volleyball attack

REED CITY – Reed City's girls volleyball team hopes to be a force in the Central State Activities Association this season and will rely on players like Heather Tacey and Natalie Westhoff to help the Coyotes get the job done.

Tacey, a junior, also played on the varsity last season.

She returns to her role as a setter this year.

“We played really well last year,” she said. “I was only a back row player. This year, we had some changes in our lineup. So now I'm playing all the way around.”

Tacey has been a setter since fifth grade.

“It gives you control of the game. I like to know who's on and set to them,” she said. “They're all different. Like the taller they are, the more time they need. We're really close. We all know each other really well.”

On serving, “I try to make it go fast and just a little bit over the net because it's harder for them to see and react to,” she said.

Westhoff, a junior, is in her second season of varsity volleyball and is a right side hitter, the same as last season.

Last season “was great,” Westhoff said. “This year, we are all best friends on the team. As a team, we have grown together.”

Westhoff worked on various sports, including volleyball, plus soccer and basketball during the summer.

“I feel my hitting has gotten better ... passing, serving all my game improved. summer really helped,” Westhoff said.

The team “is looking pretty good. It's pretty hard with Sami out,” said Westhoff, referring to senior Sami Michell, who has been nursing a knee injury.

Westhoff said her role is the same as last season.

“We have players who assist us passing wise. There's not one person on the team that doesn't have a huge role,” Westhoff said.

Blocking is a strength, Westhoff noted, adding that she's usually able to hit the ball hard.

“My timing is pretty good,” she said. “Our blocking has been great this season so far.”

Westhoff said she's working on her passing.

“I think we can make a decent postseason run this year,” Westhoff said. “We have experience, we can go far.”

“We're looking really good,” Tacey said. “We got first in the Silver Bracket (at Cadillac). We're hoping for districts this year. That's one of our team goals. We're looking to go to a tournament somewhere and get first. Our hitting is coming along and we're smart with the ball.”