Coyotes top Cards in district semis

BIG RAPIDS — Reed City topped Big Rapids 3-0 (25-18, 25-16, 25-21) in a district semifinal match last Wednesday.

The win put the Coyotes in the district finals the following day against Chippewa Hills, which the Warriors won.

In the first set against Big Rapids, the Coyotes built up a 7-1 lead on the strength of six service points from Jacolyn Mullins and Reed City eventually stretched its lead to 22-14. The Cardinals battled back to trim the Coyotes’ lead to 23-17 following a kill by Big Rapids’ Emily Fisk, but the Coyotes were able to score the two more points needed for a 25-18 set victory.

The Coyotes kept their momentum going in the second set as they raced out to a 14-4 lead and used that big lead to clinch a 25-16 set victory to go up 2-0.

The Cardinals wouldn’t leave quietly though, as they matched the Coyotes point-for-point to a 16-16 tie midway through the final set. With the score at 20-20, Reed City finally put the Cardinals away with a 5-1 scoring run to secure the win and move on to the district final.

“It’s rewarding to see the girls step up when it matters,” Reed City coach Don Patterson said. “A lot of kids have had a lot of growth and some of these girls have been with me for three years. It’s really rewarding to see that growth over a period of time and how their understanding of the game has grown.”

For Big Rapids coach Chris Jensen, last Wednesday’s loss came down to the Coyotes being a little more technically sound in their overall game.

“Don’s got a great program going,” he said. “There’s lots of continuity and he gets the right people in the right positions. They know their roles and they play a technically-sound game. I think that’s the difference between us and Reed City. We have the same athletes and can compete, but we just lack the continuity and consistency.”

Michaela Reed had two aces, a block, seven kills and six digs for the Coyotes, with Tacey scoring 13 digs and 36 assists, Mullins adding four aces, 13 kills and 21 digs and Natalie Westhoff recording five digs and eight kills.