Coyotes’ season ends in nail-biter

REED CITY — A great start wasn’t enough to extend the Reed City volleyball team’s season on Monday.

The Coyotes’ season came to a close in Class B district play in five games against Fremont, 24-26, 20-25, 25-19, 25-13 and 15-12. The loss was tough to take after winning the first two games, coach Don Patterson said.

“In the first two games I thought we passed really well,” he said. “That allowed us to run more of our offense. I thought when we got down in the second and third games we were serving tentatively and we weren’t passing very well.”

Reed City started fast, grabbing early leads in the first two games. A kill by Sami Michell gave the Coyotes a 15-12 lead. Emma Lockhart added a kill to make it 21-18 to put the first game out of reach.

BLOCK PARTY: Natalie Westhoff (middle) and Sami Michell of Reed City go up for a block against Fremont on Monday evening during the Class B district contest at Reed City High School. (Pioneer photo/Martin Slagter)

In the second game, Reed City got solid play from Michell and Natalie Westhoff, who added a pair of big blocks late in the game to energize the Coyotes. An ace by Kalee Hensel gave Reed City a 24-18 lead.

Reed City was led by Michell with 27 kills and two aces, Jacolyn Mullins with four kills, Westhoff with six blocks, Michaela Reed with five kills and Lockhart with four kills.

Reed City struggled in the next two games, however, when the Packers stepped up their play defensively, Patterson said.

“Defensively, I thought they out-played us,” he said. “I give them credit, they did some nice things that allowed them to set up their offense.”

Fremont took a 6-1 lead in the third game and never looked back. Many of Reed City’s kill attempts went long, giving the Packers a number of easy points.

A Michell kill brought the Coyotes back, ending a string of seven-straight points to give Reed City a 14-12 lead. Fremont took over the rest of the way, however, landing a number of kill attempts to take a lead it would not relinquish.

Senior Jordyn Mason said the lack of communication led to three-straight losses for the Coyotes.

“We weren’t nervous early on, but when we started falling behind we were a little afraid and tentative,” she said. “Once we fell behind we stopped communicating.”

After dropping the fourth game in which the Packers dominated play, Reed City rebounded in the fifth and deciding game.

Reed contributed a kill that gave Reed City a 6-5 lead, and another kill to tie the game at 7-7.

Fremont stepped its game up at the net in the final game, including a block by Emily Hummel to take a 9-8 lead. After Michell tied the game up at 10-10, Fremont scored five of the next seven points to take the game.

It wasn’t the ending the team hoped for, Reed said, but there is plenty of optimism heading into next season.

“We only have one senior and a lot of sophomores,” said Reed, who is a sophomore. “I think we’re an up and coming team.”

Patterson said he didn’t think the team’s youth showed in three-straight losses.

“I don’t think (our youth) is that big of a deal,” he said. “They had played 60 games coming in. Having five senior vs. one might have been a factor, but I don’t think it was too much.”

Fremont advances to take on Big Rapids at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday at Reed City High School.

Visit the photo gallery to see more photos from this match.

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