Pine River senior setter eyes another strong season

LEROY — Chelsea Nelson is back from a Pine River volleyball team that went to the Class C state semifinals a year ago.

Nelson wouldn’t mind a return venture.

The Pine River senior is among the key players on this year’s squad. She’s been playing the sport since the sixth grade and is on the varsity for her third season.

Nelson will be the setter for the team.

“Team bonding, we all meshed pretty well last year,” said Nelson who has been involved heavily in volleyball during the offseason. “I’m trying to understand where the hitters want their sets and I ‘m working to build that connection.”

Nelson notes that the team will be smaller this season. “We’re going to be scrappy, out to fight,” she said.

Meanwhile, Pine River’s volleyball team is putting the finishing touches on preparation for the first action of the season Saturday.

“After two-a-days this week, we’ll be ready to go,” Nelson said, adding that on the schedule, Beal City and McBain will be tough challenges.

As for going to Battle Creek last year for the state semifinals, “it’d be great to get there again,” Nelson said.

Tryouts were conducted last Wednesday

“We made cuts on Friday and went to a scrimmage Saturday,” said Pine River coach Jana Dennis. “It was basically for us to see what we need to work on. We need to work on little things.”

This Saturday, the Bucks will play at Traverse City Central in tournament action. That will make for a busy week of practice, Dennis acknowledged.

The Bucks are coming off a 2010 season in which they advanced to the Class C state semifinals.

Among the key returning players is senior Chelsea Nelson at setter, Cayman Gatt as an outside hitter, Jessica Hoaglund as a middle hitter and Sheena Vokes, a defensive specialist.

The Bucks graduated some key players from a year ago including Megan Kollmeyer, Molly Motzer and Miranda Nelson.

“I think we’ll be OK,” Dennis said. “We definitely need to work hard early in the season. We have quite a few younger players so it will take them time. We have some real good potential.”