Hensel making impact in first soccer season

REED CITY — Kalee Hensel recalls that she decided to join the Reed City varsity girls soccer team for the first time this season to get into shape.

But at the same time, the Coyote junior is making key contributions for her team.

Hensel, a midfield attacker who scored her third goal of the season in the Coyotes’ 4-1 victory Monday over Benzie Central, is a key member of he school’s volleyball and basketball teams. She decided to switch from softball to soccer this season.

“I just really wanted to get into shape. I played soccer when I was little and it sounded like fun. So I decided I’d try it and I really like it. It took me a few weeks. Soccer is a lot of running. I’m finally getting the hang of it.”

Hensel spends a lot of her time trying to energize the Reed City offense.

“I look at scoring and helping wherever I can. I can kick the ball pretty well and find the open player,” she said. “I’m trying to work on my speed.”

Basketball is likely the most physical sport Hensel participates in compared to the others, but soccer still provides its challenges.

“It’s a lot more running, it’s physical,” she said. “We’re playing good, we’ve played against some tough competition.”

The critical task for her team to have a chance to win each game is to “make sure we key on their good players,” Hensel said.

With a few more weeks left in the season, Hensel and her teammates have some lofty goals.

“We want to compete well against good teams like Ludington so we can make a run in the districts,” she said.

The offense came alive for the Coyotes Monday at home over Benzie Central.

Lindsey Ridderman scored two goals while Hensel added a goal and assist for the Coyotes and Kendra Repo also scored for a Reed City team that improved to 2-11.

Ridderman scored at the 32-minute and 18-minute marks of the first half and was assisted on her second goal by Tia Lintemuth. Morgan Cook had a penalty kick late in the half for the Coyotes and Benzie goalie Ashley Wixon made the clutch save.

“We passed well and we pressured the ball,” said Reed City coach Bryan Hall. “I told the girls we did the things we always do. We just did them a little better.”

“We played real well together,” Hensel said. “We play like this every game. It’s just that some teams are tougher. Sometimes we don’t finish our shots. Today, we finished and played well together.”

Just 47 seconds into the second half, Hensel broke free and put in her third goal of the season.

“I was open so I just shot it,” Hensel smiled. “I was really excited. It’s my first year.”

Benzie Central stayed alive midway in the period when Erin Thompson put in the Huskies’ first goal. The Huskies continued to put some pressure on but the Coyote defense prevailed. Kendra Repo poked the ball into the net with 6:18 to play for the Coyotes’ final goal. Hensel drew an assist.

“Passing was a key and playing pressure defense all over the field because that keeps the other team from passing the ball,” Hall said. “The defense was great.”

Goalkeepers for the Coyotes were RayAnne Sheldon in the first half and Heather Tacey in the second.

Benzie Central falls to 0-12.

“We could have played better,” said Benzie coach Scott Kubit. “There were moments in the game where we possessed the ball and passed it. We didn’t do it for very long. I was very happy with the first seven minutes of both halves. I thought we possessed real well. We created a few chances but didn’t always shoot on them.”

Reed City is home Wednesday against Lakeview. The junior varsity game starts at 4:30 p.m. followed by the varsity contest at 6 p.m.