Pine River’s volleyball season ends at regionals

LEROY — The volleyball season didn’t last as long as the Pine River Bucks would have preferred but it was still a championship season to be remembered.

Pine River’s dreams for another regional title came to a halt Thursday night at Kalkaska in a 3-0 loss to Charlevoix in the Class C regional title match. It was 25-22, 25-11, 25-16.

Pine River had beaten Charlevoix 3-2 in last year’s regional finals.

“It just wasn’t our night,” said Pine River coach Jana Dennis. “We came out a little flat. I thought we had a chance in game 1. They bounced back against us. Charlevoix’s a good team. Tonight, they were the better team than we were.”

“Charlevoix played as one, as a team,” said Pine River senior Chelsea Nelson. “We came out strong but at the end we fell apart with mental mistakes. They had everybody returning from last year.”

Cayman Gatt had nine digs and seven kills while Nelson had five kills and 16 digs and Sheena Vokes added 11 digs.

“We had a very successful season,” Nelson said. “We actually had a better record than we did at the end of last year. Everybody played to their best potential.”

Defeating Leland in the Cadillac tournament and knocking off Highland Conference rival McBain in the district tournament were main highlights, Nelson noted.

The season ends for Pine River at 41-13-5. The Bucks had advanced to the state semifinals a year ago.

“It was good to get back to the regional finals,” Dennis said. “The girls had pressure on them from what they accomplished last year. It was good for the young ones to experience this.”

Pine River advanced to Thursday’s Class C regional finals at Kalkaska with a 3-1 victory over Indian River Inland Lakes Tuesday night.

The Bucks lost their first game 26-24, but came back to win the next three 25-15, 25-20, 25-12.

Nelson contributed 32 assists, six kills, 11 aces and 31 digs; Jessica Hoaglund had 12 kills, 10-of-10 serving, three blocks and seven digs; Cayman Gatt had eight kills and 21 digs and Kassy Nelson added 17 serves.

“We started out a little slow but picked up momentum as the night went on,” Dennis said. “It was a good solid win.”

Nelson contributed in various areas for the Bucks but focused mainly on being a setter.

“I think I had a rather successful season, Nelson said. “I really worked on my serves. I really tried to get everyone involved in the game. Overall, it was probably one of my better seasons.”

Nelson said about seven girls, herself included, will be playing basketball, Practices started Friday, the day after volleyball season ended.

“I’m used to it, it’s not that big of a deal,” Nelson said of the transition of one sport to another.

Charlevoix swept Fife Lake Forest Area 25-18, 25-16, 25-11 in the other regional semifinals. A year ago, the Bucks defeated Charlevoix in the regional finals 20-25, 25-27, 25-23, 25-22, 15-10.