Pine River volleyball team sweeps Evart

EVART — The Highland Conference volleyball season ends with Saturday’s tournament at Manton.

Districts are next week.

Pine River’s volleyball team changed its defense coming into Tuesday night’s (Oct. 21) Highland Conference match with Evart and it worked like a charm.

The Bucks swept the Wildcats 25-16, 25-9, 25-15.

After taking the first game, the Bucks established control of the match, getting three straight aces from Kyla Johnson and later two aces on net serves by Kaylee Goodman for a 12-4 lead. Jenna Johnson served two aces for a 17-7 lead and the Bucks outscored Evart 8-2 for the rest of the game. 

Pine River again jumped out to an early lead in the third game. Kyla Johnson served three-straight points, including two aces, for a 10-3 lead. Makayla Wallace had a block and kill for Evart to make it a 17-7 game. But Morgan Sumpter had five straight service points for a 20-9 lead and Brittany Davis had a kill for the 25th point.

“We started the new defense, so we have to work through our struggles and not play down, but at a level more comfortable for us,” Pine River coach Jana Dennis said, adding that the new setup “protects our middle more. We’re trying something new.”

It was Pink Fights Back Night with the proceeds from the match going to cancer research.

“We did a great job embracing some changes in our defense and really used (Tuesday) as a chance to work the kinks out,” Dennis said. “The girls served well and kept hitting hard. It was a real team effort (Tuesday).”

Johnson had nine kills and five aces, Goodman and Davis had seven kills and Sumpter had 21 assists.

“We start out strong, we just have to finish strong,” Evart coach Krissy Weidenfeller said. “When we start finishing, that will make a difference.”

For Evart, Kullman had three kills and Tabby Turley had six digs. Wallace had three kills.

“There’s been progress but not (Tuesday),” Kullman, one of only two returning seniors on the team, said. “We’ll have progress and then one game, we’ll forget about volleyball.”

Pine River is 18-18-3 overall and 3-3 in the Highland. Evart falls to 3-12 and 0-6.