Reed City volleyball uses Ferris camp to prepare for season

volleyball: Reed City volleyball coach Don Patterson (center) watches the action during last week's Ferris State camp. (Herald Review/Martin Slagter).
volleyball: Reed City volleyball coach Don Patterson (center) watches the action during last week’s Ferris State camp. (Herald Review/Martin Slagter).

BIG RAPIDS — Coming off an appearance in last season’s Class B regional final, the Reed City volleyball team is looking to build on last season’s success with a combination of experience and budding youth.

The Coyotes got to work extensively in game action last Tuesday at the Ferris State varsity team volleyball camp, which featured teams from throughout the region. The camp is designed to get teams extensive game action over a two-day period, concluding this afternoon with a number of different bracket championships.

The goal for the camp, Reed City coach Don Patterson said, is to get his teams as many reps as possible against the same level of competition.

“The kids end up getting to play a lot and it doesn’t cost them a lot of money,” he said. “It’s great for the girls to see (Ferris State volleyball coach) Tia (Brandel-Wilhelm) and her girls play, too. It’s more about just getting out and playing.

“There ends up being eight or nine championship brackets,” he added. “You end up with teams as good as you are, no matter how good you play.”

This is the second of three sessions of the varsity team camp that will conclude on Friday, featuring Reed City, Lakeview and Cadillac among close to 20 teams in attendance. FSU also hosted individual all-skill, libero, setter and hitter camps earlier this month.

The Coyotes have high hopes of returning to the regional finals again this season with the potential of seven seniors on the roster, Patterson said.

Reed City will be led by senior all-Central State Activities Association hitter Jacolyn Mullins, along with senior setter Heather Tacey and Michaela Reed.

While a number of those seniors were not in attendance at the FSU camp due to prior obligations, Patterson said the varsity camp gave him a chance to see a number of the newer faces play with more experienced players.

“We do a lot of specific stuff in our summer camps,” he said. “This is more about just getting out and playing with each other. Right now we have potentially four JV kids and four and potentially four varsity kids. It gives us a chance to see some of the other kids that I might not see otherwise in action.”

The work the team gets to put in together will pay dividends once practice begins in August, Reed said.

“It really helps our team grow and develop together,” she said. “We’ve got some new people coming up this year, so this definitely helps us in terms of bonding together.”

Tacey agreed that the FSU camp was one of the first opportunity to get important game action in together with players from both the varsity and JV levels.

“We’ve had ball control camp, but this has really been our first big summer thing,” she said. “We have our CUJO camp coming up, which is where we stay in our gym for like four days and have three practices a day.

“This is a good thing for us this year, because we only have two seniors here,” she added. “This gives a lot of the younger girls a chance to do some different things.”