Reed City eliminates Big Rapids from volleyball tournament

Shorthanded Coyotes survive Cardinals in four sets

REED CITY – They were shorthanded but the Reed City Coyotes were able to pull out a 3-1 district semifinal match win over Big Rapids on Wednesday.

The Coyotes played the final set with only six players due to injury but pulled out the 25-17 win to make it 3-1.

The Coyotes will play Cadillac 6 p.m. on Thursday at home for the title.

“I thought it was really nice,” Reed City junior Kenzie Shoemaker said. “We all played as a team.”

The Coyotes won a closely contested first set 27-25. Reed City had an 18-14 lead but Big Rapids battled back and took a 21-20 lead on Kelsie Gorczewicz’s ace. The battle was on for the winning points with Reed City getting the last two on Kyleigh Weck’s ace and service point.

The Coyotes prevailed 26-24 in the second game. Reed City dominated most of the second set and Molly Bowman’s ace gave the Coyotes a 19-12 lead. The Cardinals battled back to close it to 23-22 on Emily Bell’s kill. It was 24-22 on a service error but the Cardinals netted two straight points. Bowman served the 26th point for the Coyote win.

BR won the third game 25-16.

Izzy Fath’s ace gave BR a 12-10 lead in the third set. Kara Paquette served Big Rapids to a 19-15 lead. Gorczewicz’s serves made it 23-16. Bell’s kill hit the 24th point and Gorczewicz’s ace made it 25-15.

Andie Bennett suffered a leg injury during the fourth set and Reed City was down to six players. Paquette served the Cards to a 10-5 lead. RC came back and led 14-12 on Weck’s kill.

Bowman’s ace gave the Coyotes a 19-14 lead. Rachel Van Syckle had four service points for a 24-16 lead. Kenzie Shoemaker had a kill for the final point.

“We kind of know everyone’s spot because we’re such a small team,” Shoemaker said. “So we learn each other positions a lot.”

Shoemaker usually plays libero but went to rightside hitter when Bennett went down.

“I thought we played really well,” Reed City coach Don Patterson said. “Big Rapids still played well and did the things they do and served really tough. Their defense was really coming around. I thought our defense was better. Kyleigh had a nice game. When she’s able to put the ball away that makes a difference.”

For Reed City, Weck had one ace 11 kills, one assist, 33 digs and one block; Shoemaker had one ace, one kill, eight digs, one block; Bowman had two aces, 44 five kills, 37 digs; Van Syckle had 15 digs, 10 assists, four kills and once ace; Bennett had seven kills and nine digs; Kendell Henry had 30 digs, and two kills and Emma Johnston two aces, five kills, 23 assists, nine digs and two blocks.

Patterson said he didn’t think Bennett’s injury was “serious” and is hoping to have her for the match against Cadillac.

“We’ve still got six players even without her,” Patterson said. “Kenzie Shoemaker did a nice of stepping in. We have to hope we don’t lose anyone else.”

Against Cadillac, “we have to serve really tough, tougher than we did Wednesday night, and keep the ball away from their block,” Patterson said. “Their block is huge. It’s tough to get it by them. They’re well-rounded in everything they do. It will be serve and serve received. They do a great job on that as well.”

The season ends for Big Rapids under second-year coach Emily Van Culin.

"A loss is always disappointing but I’m proud of our team and the effort we gave tonight,” Van Culin said. “We’re working with a lineup new to us because of a couple of injuries.”

For  Big Rapids, Gorczewicz had 27 digs, Fath had 22 assists and four aces, Cailin Knoop had nine kills and Marissa Warren had three blocks.
Passing leader was Pharis Carroll.

Lake City 3, Pine River 0

Pine River volleyball ended its season losing to Lake City in the district semifinals 25-10, 25-14, 25-16.

"This season was a bunch of ups and downs for us. We made some shifts mid season and things started to come together. However, it just wasn’t enough tonight. Pine River wants to thank all s9x of their seniors for their dedication to the team and the sport. We will definitely miss them next year but our future is bright."

PR's final record is 14-26.