Ready for a rematch

BATTLE: Reed City's Alaina Woodard (left) goes up to stop a shot in front of the net while Big Rapids' Emily Fisk looks to push the ball over. (Pioneer photo/Greg Buckner)

BATTLE: Reed City’s Alaina Woodard (left) goes up to stop a shot in front of the net while Big Rapids’ Emily Fisk looks to push the ball over. (Pioneer photo/Greg Buckner)

Reed City set to meet Chippewa Hills in district final for second straight year

BIG RAPIDS — For the Reed City volleyball team, there’s a little bit of deja vu going on.

After facing Chippewa Hills in the district final last year and winning the title with a 3-0 win over the Warriors, the Coyotes will once again be facing the Warriors in the district final this season after Reed City topped Big Rapids 3-0 (25-18, 25-16, 25-21) in a district semifinal match on Wednesday.

The final is set for 6:30 p.m. today at Big Rapids High School and Reed City’s Heather Tacey said the Coyotes are excited for the opportunity to defend their district title against a familiar foe.

“It’s crazy that it’s going to be the same team,” she said. “It will be awesome to see them again. We’re excited for that. We’re just pumped now. Getting a win against our rivals (Wednesday) and sending them out was nice.”

Reed City coach Don Patterson said with the familiarity the Coyotes and Warriors have with one another with both schools being members of the Central State Activities Association (CSAA), today’s final will be anything but easy.

“We know each other well,” he said. “They know what we’re going to try and do and we know what they’re going to try and do. It will just depend on which team is able to execute their gameplan better.”

In order to get to the final, Reed City had to take care of business against the Cardinals first.

In the first set, the Coyotes built up a 7-1 lead on the strength of six service points from Jacolyn Mullins and Reed City eventually stretched its lead to 22-14. The Cardinals battled back to trim the Coyotes’ lead to 23-17 following a kill by Big Rapids’ Emily Fisk, but the Coyotes were able to score the two more points needed for a 25-18 set victory.

The Coyotes kept their momentum going in the second set as they raced out to a 14-4 lead and used that big lead to clinch a 25-16 set victory to go up 2-0.

The Cardinals wouldn’t leave quietly though, as they matched the Coyotes point-for-point to a 16-16 tie midway through the final set. With the score at 20-20, Reed City finally put the Cardinals away with a 5-1 scoring run to secure the win and move on to the district final.

“It’s rewarding to see the girls step up when it matters,” Patterson said. “A lot of kids have had a lot of growth and some of these girls have been with me for three years. It’s really rewarding to see that growth over a period of time and how their understanding of the game has grown.”

For Big Rapids coach Chris Jensen, Wednesday’s loss came down to the Coyotes being a little more technically sound in their overall game.

“Don’s got a great program going,” he said. “There’s lots of continuity and he gets the right people in the right positions. They know their roles and they play a technically-sound game. I think that’s the difference between us and Reed City. We have the same athletes and can compete, but we just lack the continuity and consistency.”

For the Cardinals, Cara Jensen had eight kills and 14 digs while Fisk scored seven kills and three blocks, Madeline White tallied two aces and six kills, Hannah Dadles recorded three blocks and six kills and Lauren Maginnis distributed 25 assists. Jerri Nowak also had five digs while Mackenzie Potter had four digs.

Michaela Reed had two aces, a block, seven kills and six digs for the Coyotes, with Tacey scoring 13 digs and 36 assists, Mullins adding four aces, 13 kills and 21 digs and Natalie Westhoff recording five digs and eight kills.

With the win, the Coyotes now are ready see if they can come away with back-to-back district titles with a victory tonight.

“We just want to defend our title,” Tacey said. “We have a couple good hitters and we just need to get our block up and play our game.”

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