Volleyball teams ready to start seasons
Volleyball practices started last week but teams like Pine River and Reed City will already be in action this week.
Reed City hosted a scrimmage Saturday that included Pine River.
Coach Don Patterson said he had 30 girls come out for volleyball. He’s figuring on about 12 for varsity. He’s anticipating having a freshman and JV squad.
Key players back for the Coyotes include seniors Kalee Hensel at libero, Emma Lockhart at outside hitter and Sami Michell at hitter and setter. Reed City graduated one player, Jordyn Mason, from last season. There were four sophomores last season who are now juniors with Heather Tacey at setter, Natalie Westhoff and Mikakla Reed at blockers and Jacolyn Mullins at outside hitter.
“I think we’ll serve very well, “Patterson said. “We’ll play quite a lot of offense. Defensively, I think we’ll be sound by the end of the year. We’ll have more depth than we’ve had.”
The season opens Aug. 18 at Alma.
“I think this will be as good as we’ve been in quite awhile,” Patterson said, adding that in Central State Activities Association play, “I still think it’s Morley Stanwood’s race to lose. White Cloud will also be good.”
Expectations are high at Pine River this season.
Coach Jana Dennis made cuts on Friday. Key players back from last season include senior Cayman Gatt at outside hitter; Jamie Justin at middle hitter; Kassy Nelson at libero; and Elizabeth Whitley at setter. Alex Stokely will also set for the Bucks.
“I think we’re capable of going all the way,” Dennis said. “We’re going to be pretty well rounded. We want to fine tune things. We have to get used to having a new setter. I pretty much have all juniors and seniors except for Kassy. (a sophomore).”
The Bucks graduated Jessica Hoaglund, Chelsea Nelson and Sheena Vokes from last year’s squad. Nelson was the team’s setter for three years.
“We did a Monday league and went to team camp,” Dennis said of summer activity.
The season opens at the Traverse City Central tournament on Aug. 18. Dennis expects to be in the gym heavily this week getting ready for the season.
“We’re expecting to do well,” Dennis said. “We took second there last year. We want to perform the same we did last year or better.”