Three Big Rapids volleyball players earn all-conference awards

Jayla Strickland (10) and Grace Fath (1) were two of three Big Rapids volleyball players earning CSAA all-conference honors this week along with Mackaela Klever. (Pioneer file photo)

BIG RAPIDS — Big Rapids’ volleyball team finished a strong third in the Central State Activities Association Gold Division this season, and was led by three players who have made the all-conference team.

Grant won the league at 7-0, followed by Tri County at 6-1 and Big Rapids at 5-2.

Senior Jayla Strickland and sophomore Grace Fath both earned first-team all-conference honors.

The honorable mention list included junior Mackaela Klever.

Strickland, a senior middle hitter, served 95.8 percent with 30 aces and hit 30.3 percent with 212 kills averaging 2.26 kills per set. She had 58 individual blocks and 49 assisted blocks. She also had 111 digs.

“Jayla was so much fun to coach,” Big Rapids coach Chelsea Nelson said. “She was always receptive to change and had a drive to get better every single day. If we needed someone to get us going, we could count on Jayla to take on that role. Jayla is a go-getter and was a big part of our success this year.

“What Jayla’s stats don’t show is how great of a teammate she was on and off the court. She was always energetic and brought a lot of heart to the game. We are going to miss her going into next season and definitely have some big shoes to fill.”

Fath was a setter. She served at 88.5 percent with 113 aces to lead the team and had 102 kills, plus 15 individual and 17 assisted blocks for a total of 32 blocks, 723 assists and 336 digs.

“Grace loves this game and it transpires to her playing style on the court,” Nelson said. “She puts in work outside of practice times and has a true drive to continue to get better. Grace led the team with aces this year as well as assists, and being a setter, she had quite a few kills too.

“I’m looking forward to seeing Grace develop into a more vocal leader in the off season and the impact that it will have on our team next year. Grace is a very coachable athlete and is always looking for ways to improve her skills in order to help the team.”

Klever was a junior outside hitter who served 92.5 percent with 35 aces and had 281 kills with a hitting percentage of 0.176 percent

She had 23 individual and five assisted for a total of 28 blocks

She added 267 digs.

“Mackaela brought a lot of energy to the court this year and adjusted well to being moved to an outside hitter,” Nelson said. “I’m looking forward to seeing her develop more during club season and seeing what she brings to the court next year.”

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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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