After nearly upsetting an Athens team that was ranked in the Top 10 in Class C earlier this season, in Saturday’s Big Eight tournament, the Reading Rangers volleyball team saw its season come to a quick, concise close at the hands of No. 3 Bronson Monday.
In the first-round of district play at Jonesville the Vikings showed Reading what a dominant program looks like first-hand in a 25-3, 25-11, 25-10 victory.
Led by consistently strong play from girls like senior outside hitter Amanda Bell and junior setter Allison Kyle, the Vikings showcased better anticipation and had great passing that lead to plenty of strong kills.
“Passing is huge, I always tell my girls that it starts with a pass, you can’t do anything without a pass,” Mulnix said.
Despite being out-matched across the board, the Rangers improved as the night went on. Reading took their lone lead at the beginning of the third set, and a diving stop where Jessica Fink actually hit the ball back over the net while lying on the floor with an outstretched arm, was proof that while the Rangers can get better, their effort is not one of their trouble spots.
“I liked the effort. I harp on effort — nobody should be able to take our effort away, and we dove after everything, we went hard — they’re just a better team than us really,” Mulnix said. “This group of girls never gives up, no matter if they’re down 25-5, they never give up.”
Mulnix said her team is simply learning how to win still and she expects them to take big steps next season.
“My juniors, I see a strong set of juniors coming back. My setter is coming back, my libero is coming back, one of my outside hitters and my middle (hitter) is coming back so I only graduate four,” she said. “We have a lot of potential coming back, but it’s still a process where we still need to continue to work before we can get better.”
The Rangers did not keep individual statistics Monday.
Western 3, Hillsdale 0
The Hornets volleyball team came close in two sets, but ultimately lost in a straight sweep to Western, 24-26, 13-25, 21-25, to put an end to their season.
Hillsdale head coach Sumer Wells said “it was a sad end to an interesting season”and a tight call at the end of the first set went against them, and took away some of the team’s momentum.
Taylor Mann had eight kills, five digs and two aces for the Hornets, while Hannah Cleveland had 18 digs and three kills.
Chloe Jelenc had 13 digs and Lauren Chase had 20 assists.
Hillsdale’s final record on the season is 12-26-1, but Wells said she is pleased with the progress her squad made.
“What a difference in this team from the start of the season to the level of play tonight,” she said. “While our record definitely wasn’t much to boast about, the girls really learned a lot, and our seniors (were) good role models for future leaders and players.”