Playoff magic continues for Coyotes

Reed City advances to regional final with win over Belding

FREMONT – The playoff magic continues for the Reed City Coyotes.

Reed City prevailed 25-10, 25-19, 25-17 over Belding Tuesday night at Fremont in a Class B semifinal regional volleyball match.

Reed City, 29-21, advances to the final on Thursday night against Whitehall.

“These kids have worked hard all year long,” said Reed City coach Don Patterson. “We played Belding in midseason and it was a really, really close match. It was one of our better matches. It was a three (in a best 2 of 3 format) and could have gone either way. That shows how much we’ve improved over the year. They’ve improved too.”

MOVING ON: Reed City’s volleyball team advanced to Thursday’s regional final with a 3-0 win over Belding on Tuesday. (Pioneer photo/John Raffel)

Serving got the Coyotes in good shape in the first game. Heather Tacey served Reed City to a 6-1 lead. Jacolyn Mullins started serving well and had four aces, including two in a row for a 12-2 advantage. Natalie Westhoff’s kill gave Reed City a 19-5 lead. She also had a kill for the Coyotes’ 24th point and Brittani Yarger had an ace for the 25th point.

“I didn’t think we serve received well at all,” said Belding coach Mikayla Linebaugh. “The first game especially, we were taken out of the game and struggled with their top-spin server (Mullins). She controlled it well and we struggled with it. That was the biggest thing. We didn’t serve receive well.”

In the second game, the Coyotes continued their strong serving and net play. Mullins served two aces for a 20-14 lead and Emma Lockhart added a point on a block. Mullins had another block for a 23-15 lead. Belding made a surge but a net error by the Redskins gave Reed City its 25th point and a 2-0 lead in games.

Mullins served an ace for a 22-16 lead in the third game. Michaela Reed’s tip made it 24-17 and a Coyote block at the net finished the match.

Tacey had three aces, two kills and 25 assists plus eight digs for Reed City while Mullins was credited with 11 aces and 14 kills, plus 17 digs. Emma Lockhart had five kills and 20 digs, followed by Kalee Hensel with 18 digs, Westhoff with six kills and two digs and Karah Hensel with five digs.

“We have really good passers,” Reed said. “Heather is amazing on her sets. Our blocks, they’re really improving.

“Jacolyn’s jump serve has definitely helped us. Brittani’s float serves and Kayla Davis’ serve is really good too.”

Whitehall swept Grant 25-17, 25-20, 25-23 in the other semifinal on Tuesday.

“Whitehall is big and fast, they do everything right,” Patterson said. “We’ll have to be at the top of our game and then some. We’ll have to serve as we did here (Tuesday) or tougher. We’re in the regional finals and that’s a pretty good place to be.”

Whitehall is 43-11-1.

“We’ll make sure we all do our best,” Reed said. “We’ll have to play like we did against Chippewa Hills (in the district finals).”

Belding ends the season at 17-17-5.

“The biggest thing is I didn’t think we moved our block a lot to adjust,” Linebaugh said. “(Reed City) moved very well on defense. They’re a good team. I wish them well.”

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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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