Sophomores playing key role in Reed City volleyball attack
REED CITY— Four sophomores have played key roles in a Reed City volleyball season that ended in a tough 3-2 loss to Fremont Monday in an opening round district match.
They’re all in their first varsity seasons. Jacllyn Mullins has been an outside hitter for the Coyotes.
“I like the fast pace of the game a lot,” Mullins said. “It’s a lot more interesting. I’ve learned a lot this season. My hitting has been a lot better. My serve percentage has gone up. My passing has improved too.”
Mullins has been impressed with the Coyotes performance this season despite having a young squad.
She had hoped for a long district run and said the key to success this season for the Coyotes was “getting great passes so we can get good hits.”
Michaela Reed is a middle hitter and blocker for the Coyotes.
“My JV year they had me play varsity a game or two,” she said. “Then they told me (she was on varsity) after tryouts (in August). I was real excited.”
Reed was able to make a very smooth transition to the varsity level.
“I think I fit in, but there were definitely some things I needed to work on,” she said. “I wasn’t the best at blocking but I think I improved.”
Reed indicated she’s been hitting the ball hard.
“Sometimes it’s not 100 percent accurate but I’m working at that a lot,” she said. “My blocking isn’t the best but I’m working at that too. I feel like sometimes I spread my hands too far apart so it goes in between.”
The team has shown marked improvement since the season started, Reed noted.
“We have to pass better, serve better and get one more block a game,” she said.
She’s played basketball in the past but Reed is focusing this winter on AAU volleyball.
“Last year, I did volleyball until the second week before summer break,” Reed said.
Heather Tacey plays setter for the Coyotes. She’s been a setter since fifth grade.
“It’s a lot faster paced game,” she said of the varsity level. “I’ve had to get there faster and push the ball out more.”
Junior Sami Michell has been setting again this season for the Coyotes and is also a hitter. Watching Michell has been a plus for Tacey.
“I think we did well against Shelby,” Tacey said. “We didn’t win but we definitely played very well. The same with Morley. We need to keep practicing and (working on) our serves. They’ve gotten a lot better.”
Natalie Westhoff has been playing a right hitter and has had a smooth adjustment to the varsity.
“We all work together,” she said. “I’ve definitely improved on my blocking this year.”
Westhoff said she hopes to improve on her hitting.
Playing on the varsity as a sophomore will be of great help, Westhoff said, in her junior and senior seasons with the Coyotes.
“We’re only losing one senior and I think we’ll be real strong next year,” Westhoff said. “It really helps us for experience.”
FREMONT 3, REED CITY 2
The season ended Monday on a heartbreaking note for Reed City in a first round district game at home against Fremont. Reed City took the first two games 26-24, 25-20 but lost the next three 25-19, 25-13, 15-12.
Sami Michell and Emma Lockhart had key kills in the first game. In the second game, Michell and Westhoff added blocks and a Kalee Hensel ace gave the team a 24-18 lead.
For the game, Michell had 27 kills and two aces, followed by Mullins with four kills, Westhoff with six blocks Reed with five kills and Lockhart with four kills.
REGULAR SEASON ENDS
The regular season ended at home for the Coyotes on Oct. 26. They lost 25-20, 25-17 to league champion Morley Stanwood and then defeated Chippewa Hills 25-23, 25-17.
For the night, Michell had 16 kills and four aces for Reed City while Emma Lockhart and Kalee Hensel had 19 digs apiece and Lockhart added four kills. Westhoff had five blocks while Mullins picked up five kills and five aces.