Pine River volleyball squad places 4 players on all-conference team

LEROY — Four Pine River volleyball players recently received Highland Conference all-league players.

Players on the first team were KayLee Goodman, Kyla Johnson and Julie Justin, while honorable mention accolades went to Tailor Charles.

Johnson had 56 aces and 26 kills for the Bucks.

“She played a middle for us and was really the heart of this team,” Pine River coach Jana Dennis said. “She had a lot of responsibility put on her shoulders this year and did a great job accepting that role. She was a team captain and definitely a role model on and off the court.”

Justin had 72 aces and 203 kills.

“She played an outside for us,” Dennis said. “She was also a team captain. She was the vocal one of the group. She was encouraging to others at all times and did a good job seeing the floor and creating plays.”

Goodman had 72 aces and 300 kills.

“KayLee started the season as an outside, but was moved to a middle where she really started to find herself,” Dennis said. “She is an inspiration to the team and our community with everything that she has overcome throughout this year. She became a voice that the team listened to consistently and shared much responsibility with Julie and Kyla.”

Charles had 248 digs.

“Tailor played libero for us,” Dennis said. “She was the constant we needed in the backrow. She was willing to step into any role that was asked of her and had confidence that she could do a good job. She was also a captain for the team.

Pine River ended the season at 20-25-7.

“Our biggest improvements came in team chemistry, more specifically setter hitter chemistry,” Dennis said. “Having a freshman setter (Logan Powell) created many opportunities for learning on all sides. We had to build a confidence amongst all players that we would be OK and we would be able to get the job done. Obviously, we are losing three seniors who were a key part to our offense and we will work hard on replacing them and having our younger girls step into their roles.

“We tended to play well against teams that we had a drive to beat and also the more competitive teams. However, we just weren’t consistent with our level of play throughout the season. We rode the roller coaster that some teams do and just couldn’t use our team chemistry in the most productive ways at times.”

Looking to next season, “our focus has to be on serve receive and the communication necessary to be a consistent team from the beginning to the end,” Dennis said. “This is a focus that we’ve already talked about and it’s a place where next year’s team will strive to improve upon.”