Pine River faces tough competition at Morley Stanwood Invitational

LEROY —  It's getting down to the homestretch of the season for the Pine River  volleyball team.

The Bucks played McBain Northern Michigan Christian Tuesday night. They are at Evart Tuesday.

Last Saturday at the Morley Stanwood Invitational, Pine River started out against White Cloud, winning 25-23 and then losing 25-21, 15-12. Against Cedar Springs, the Bucks won 25-20 and 25-18, then lost 15-12. They lost to Lakeview 25-18 and then won 25-16, 15-7. Because their bracket was smaller, the Bucks played three sets with each team. Pine River trailed 7-1 in the second game against Lakeview before coming back for the win.

In bracket play against Tri County, Pine River won 25-22, but lost the next two 25-15, 15-6.

"I thought we came out real strong in pool play," Pine River coach Jana Dennis said. "We wanted to come out and play well and I think we did that today. This whole tournament had good competition."

With the season winding down and districts not too far away, it was the type of competition Dennis doesn't mind seeing right now.

"We have to get mentally strong and (limit mistakes)," Dennis said.

KayLee Goodman had 19 kills and 18 digs for Pine River, while Kyla Johnson had 17 kills and 21 digs, Julie Justin had 13 kills and 18 digs and Brittany Davis had 12 kills, 11 aces, seven blocks and seven digs.

"We made a goal to cone out stronger than we have been doing in pool play," Dennis said. "We knew we would need to in this tourney because of the quality of teams there. We were able to do just that. Unfortunately, we weren't able to sustain that strength as we headed into bracket play.

"Our serving started to let us down and the unusually long wait between games didn't help either. We did some great things and the girls enjoyed playing as a team."

Pine River is 17-17-3.