Reed City volleyball coach reflects on banner season

REED CITY -- A run to the Class B volleyball regional finals might have seen out of the question in preseason for the Reed City Coyotes.

Coach Don Patterson’s team had sustained the loss of standout hitter Sami Michell from an interior cruciate ligament injury and would not get her back.

Yet, the Coyotes would win the district and get to the regional finals before falling 3-0 to Whitehall and ending the season at 29-23.

“I’m pretty happy at where we ended up,” said Patterson. “We started the year with Sami going down right away. A lot of kids had to assume some bigger roles than they would have. They worked really hard all year long. We had a few struggles at the beginning and had to make changes. By the end of the year, I thought we were playing pretty good.”

Having a healthy Sami Michell, however, still could have made a difference for the Coyotes, Patterson hinted.

“Definitely during the regular season, I think we win another handful,” he said. “Then you never know. Whitehall was a very skilled team. We definitely would have been better with her.”

Patterson expected to get sound defense from Emma Lockhart and Kalee Hensel.

“By the end of the year, we were playing pretty good darn defense,” he said. “I expected Jacolyn (Mullins) to find her offense. She may have gotten there quicker with Sami out.”

The Coyotes graduate Hensel, Lockhart and Michell while the others return.

“We have a lot back,” Patterson said. ”We have some incoming kids, juniors, that will be able to help us. Our setter, Heather Tacey, improved. She made some bigger strides. We’ll started out with the chemistry with the bulk of them back. By midseason next year, we’ll be pretty good again, I think.”