Firing on all cylinders

Coyote volleyball takes two against Big Rapids, Holton

REED CITY — Reed City was firing on all cylinders Wednesday night in volleyball victories over Holton and Big Rapids in Central State Activities Association action.

The Coyotes started the night with a 25-23, 25-21 win over Holton followed by Big Rapids’ 25-19, 26-24 win over the Red Devils. The Cardinals took the last five points in their win over Holton in the second game.

Reed City swept the Cardinals in the final match 25-19, 25-13.

GOING UP: Big Rapids' Braeden Gosma (right) goes in for the kill against a pair of Reed City players on Wednesday. (Pioneer photo/John Raffel)

Big Rapids got out to a 4-0 start with Maddie Bucholtz serving three straight points. Kalee Hensel found the scoring touch from the server’s line for the Coyotes, dealing 10 straight points including two aces for a 17-9 lead. Braeden Gosma’s block for Big Rapids kept the Cardinals close 21-17. Sami Michell’s tip picked up the 25th point.

Jackie Mullins served for five straight points and an 8-1 lead for the Coyotes in the second game. Amy McKee served an ace for the Coyotes who led 17-5. A kill by Michell made it 19-6. With Reed City up 23-13, Michell served two straight aces to end the match.

“We started out well,” said Big Rapids coach Abby Snyder. “Then they stopped talking. We couldn’t get into it after that.”

In the win over Holton, “they were good, everything went well,” Snyder said.

For Big Rapids, Bucholtz was 100 percent in serving with one ace for the entire night. Sara Rae added 25 digs. Gosma contributed five kills and Paige Johnson had two aces.

Megan Smith, Reed City’s freshman coach, was filling in for varsity coach Don Patterson, who is out of town.

“They played very well, I was proud of them,” Smith said. “We attacked very well and had quite a few kills.”

Sophomore Natalie Westhoff indicated the Coyotes were solid in almost every area of their game.

“We all worked together,” she said. “This is a big win for us.”

For the Coyotes Wednesday night, Hensel was credited with three kills, two aces and 12 digs, Jordyn Mason had four kills and 12 digs, Michell came through with 25 kills, five aces and six digs, Mullins added 11 kills, five aces and 22 digs; Michaela Reed contributed three kills and three digs and Westhoff had nine kills and 12 digs.

Westhoff is one of several sophomores on the Coyote team.

“We’re doing well,” Westhoff said. “We’re all working together. We fit in with the others very well.”

The Coyotes, Smith indicated, played well the entire night “but especially against Big Rapids. With the rivalry, they wanted to be more focused.”

All teams wore pink as a part of their uniforms to help promote special cancer awareness activities.

Big Rapids is 3-11 in the conference while Reed City is 10-4.

Next Wednesday in CSAA action, Big Rapids is at Lakeview and Reed City will entertain Morley Stanwood and Chippewa Hills.

“We’re confident,” Westhoff said as the Coyotes get ready for the last week of the regular season, followed by districts the following week in Reed City. “We feel we have a good chance of winning (districts) and going all the way through.”

Visit the photo gallery to see more photos from Wednesday’s matches.

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Posted by John Raffel

John is a sports reporter with the Pioneer as well as the Herald Review and The Lake County Star. He also coordinates the weekly Pioneer sports outdoors page. He can be reached at (231) 592-8356 or by email at jraffel@pioneergroup.com.

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