Pine River players confident of strong postseason

Michelle Kelsey
Michelle Kelsey

LEROY – Michelle Kelsey and Alexis Stokely are two Pine River juniors who have helped the varsity volleyball team reach impressive heights this season.

The Bucks are in the Class C district tournament this week. They are coming off a second-place finish to Beal City in the Highland Conference.

Kelsey, in her first varsity season, said timing was the biggest adjustment to the move.

“I think we’ve been playing great,” she said, adding that McBain is expected to be the team’s biggest competitor in the district finals.

In the two times Pine River beat McBain during the regular season, “our team chemisry was together and our intensity was high. I think we’re ready.”

Hitting has been the strongest part of her game, Kelsey indicated. “I think I can hit it pretty hard.”

Stokely is also in her first full varsity season and has been a setter, a position she’s maintained since the seventh grade, adding that it took her awhile to make the adjustment to varsity.

“It’s a much faster paced game,” Stokely said. “When I got started, it was a shock but I got used to big the girls are and how aggressive and how badly they want to win. As the season went on, I started to get to that. I wanted to win a lot.

“It’s knowing where the best chance of getting the point is, being smart and being able to see the floor. I’m getting better. It takes some getting used to but I’m getting there.”

Beating McBain has been among the highlights, Stokely said, “and coming together as a team. At the beginning, it was shaky. But now we’re all together. All we want to do is win. If we make it to the finals against McBain, that will be a good game. That’s what we’re focusing on. We have to stay together and play our game instead of going down to their level.”