Reed City gets past Big Rapids in conference opener
BIG RAPIDS — The serving and passing were there in the first two games, but it simply wasn't enough for the Big Rapids volleyball team in a 3-0 loss to Reed City on Wednesday.
The Cardinals took Reed City into extra points in both of the first two games, but were unable to score a victory as Reed City came out on top 26-24, 28-26 and 25-12.
After taking a 7-0 lead to start the first game, Big Rapids was unable to sustain momentum with its hitting throughout the first two games, coach Chris Jensen said.
"We had a lot of hitting errors early that probably offset that 7-0 lead," he said. "We were rolling. We essentially had all but won those first two games. I think not winning those first two games probably took the wind out of our sails."
The Coyotes (5-6) battled back with better focus on the attack, as a Natalie Westhoff tip cut the lead to 10-8. An ace by Michaela Reed then trimmed it to 14-13 before the teams would trade points the rest of the way.
Tied at 23-23, a hit by Big Rapids' Madeline White appeared to give the Cardinals the lead after the line judge ruled the shot in, but the up judge overruled the call to give the Coyotes the point and the lead.
Reed City coach Don Patterson said he felt the the Coyotes became more comfortable as the match went on thanks to better blocking up front.
"I thought we came out a little tight, but they served really well," he said. "Chris has got them serving really tough. I thought we started getting a little more focused and our blocking bothered them as the games went on. We had all of the momentum in the third game."
The second game saw Reed City take an 8-4 lead before Big Rapids trimmed it down and made it another back-and-forth affair. An ace by Reed City's Brittani Yarger, followed by a tip by Alaina Woodard gave the Coyotes a 22-19 lead. A kill by White, followed by an ace by Lauren Maginnis cut the lead to 22-21, but Jacolyn Mullins' play on the attack secured the victory in the second game.
"As the game goes we started getting a little more flow and passing better," Patterson said. "Once we can get the ball on target and get it in Heather (Tacey's) hands, we can get Jacolyn (Mullins) in rhythm and when we do that, she's pretty good."
Mullins led the way for Reed City with 14 kills to go with an ace and 12 digs, while Tacey finished with 24 assists, seven digs and three aces. Reed had seven digs to go with three blocks, two kills and an ace, while Karah Hensel finished with 11 digs and an ace.
Big Rapids got 27 assists from Maginnis to go with four aces in the first game, while White finished with 10 kills. Hannah Daddles had two kills in the first game, while Cara Jensen had four kills in the second game. Emily Fisk had two kills in the third game while Jensen tallied four digs.
Jensen said he was happy with his team's serving and passing in the first two games, but still sees room for improvement from his team early in the season.
"We came out to serve tough," he said. "We're a team that believes that you serve tough and you pass, then you win volleyball games. We were doing that, but we just didn't hit well in those first two games.
"It's early and we're not where I thought we would be to be honest," he added. "I thought we could be a contender, maybe. Reed City is a good measure of that, but we still lost in three, so we've got a little bit of work to do yet."
Big Rapids (3-7) will be in action on Saturday at the Manton invitational, while Reed City will take part in the Pine River invite on Saturday.