Coyote volleyball team dominates Big Rapids
REED CITY — Reed City was firing on all cylinders Wednesday night in volleyball victories over Holton and Big Rapids in Central State Activities Association action.
The Coyotes started the night with a 25-23, 25-21 win over Holton followed by Big Rapids’ 25-19, 26-24 win over the Red Devils. The Cardinals took the last five points in their win over Holton in the second game.
Reed City swept the Cardinals in the final match 25-19, 25-13.
Big Rapids got out to a 4-0 start with Maddie Bucholtz serving three straight points. Kalee Hensel found the scoring touch from the server’s line for the Coyotes, dealing 10 straight points including two aces for a 17-9 lead. Braeden Gosma’s block for Big Rapids kept the Cardinals close 21-17. Sami Michell’s tip picked up the 25th point.
Jackie Mullins served for five straight points and an 8-1 lead for the Coyotes in the second game. Amy McKee served an ace for the Coyotes who led 17-5. A kill by Michell made it 19-6. With Reed City up 23-13, Michell served two straight aces to end the match.
Megan Smith, Reed City’s freshman coach, was filling in for varsity coach Don Patterson, who is out of town.
“They played very well, I was proud of them,” Smith said. “We attacked very well and had quite a few kills.”
Sophomore Natalie Westhoff indicated the Coyotes were solid in almost every area of their game.
“We all worked together,” she said. “This is a big win for us.”
For the Coyotes Wednesday night, Hensel was credited with three kills, two aces and 12 digs, Jordyn Mason had four kills and 12 digs, Michell came through with 25 kills, five aces and six digs, Mullins added 11 kills, five aces and 22 digs; Michaela Reed contributed three kills and three digs and Westhoff had nine kills and 12 digs. Westhoff is one of several sophomores on the Coyote team.
“We’re doing well,” Westoff said. “We’re all working together. We fit in with the others very well.”
The Coyotes, Smith indicated, played well the entire night “but especially against Big Rapids. With the rivalry, they wanted to be more focused.”
All teams wore pink as a part of their uniforms to help promote special cancer awareness activities.
Big Rapids is 3-11 in the conference while Reed City is 10-4.
This Wednesday in CSAA action, Big Rapids is at Lakeview and Reed City will entertain Morley Stanwood and Chippewa Hills.
“We’re confident,” Westoff said as the Coyotes get ready for the last week of the regular season, followed by districts the following week in Reed City. “We feel we have a good chance of winning (districts) and going all the way through.”
This week, Reed City is home with Chippewa Hills and Morley Stanwood in CSAA action. There’s also a home match on Thursday, nonleague, against Kingsley, Benzie Central and White Cloud.
Reed City plays Monday night at home against Fremont in first-round district action.
The matches on Wednesday and Thursday, “are very good tuneups for us,” Patterson said. “We’re looking to keep going on serve receive.”
The Highland Conference volleyball tournament is Saturday and Pine River goes in at third place behind Beal City and McBain.
“To have a chance to win the league, we’ll have to beat McBain and Beal City earlier in the day,” said Pine River coach Jana Dennis. “Our goal is to come in and play strong.”
On Tuesday, Oct. 18, Pine River lost to McBain 25-17, 24-26, 25-16, 25-14.
For the Bucks, Chelsea Nelson had 31 assists, 24 digs and five kills, Sheena Vokes had 13 digs and eight kills and Erica Buchner had nine kills.
“Well, coming into this match we knew it would be a fight,” Dennis said. “ Losing a player to an injury forced us to change our lineup. I felt those who stepped in to fill that spot did a good job. Our offense played a timid game and McBain did a great job taking advantage of our timidness. For us, we need to regroup, refocus and regain composure.”
Pine River is 33-10-5 overall and 4-2 in the league.