Beal City Back in State Picture Under Alum
BEAL CITY – The Beal City volleyball program finds itself one win away from reaching the state semifinals for the first time since 2013 and under the direction of a coach who knows what it takes to lead the Aggies to the state’s biggest stage.
Third-year head coach Jade Kennedy is a 2013 Beal City graduate and a former all-stater who was the setter on Beal City’s 2012 MHSAA Class D state runner-up team.
“As a player it was an awesome experience,” Kennedy said. “You never know what kind of season you’re going to have going into the year, so you work hard all year long, and then before you know it you’re in the state finals. It’s such a cool experience.”
This being her first varsity coaching job, Kennedy led her alma mater to its first district and regional titles this year since reaching the 2013 MHSAA Class C state title match.
Coaching wasn’t always in the cards for Kennedy who continued her career at St. Clair County Community College before an untimely injury cut her career short.
“Was playing in college and then I dislocated my collarbone, so I had surgery, and it just wasn’t working out after,” she said. “I just, I decided to come back to coach to keep the sport in my life.”
“It’s awesome to have her as a coach because she knows what it’s like to go to states, and she can tell us everything that happened when she was playing and help us get there,” Beal City senior Jordyn Fillenworth said.
Kennedy and the Aggies (36-7-3) will face eighth-ranked Traverse City St. Francis in a Division 3 quarterfinal Tuesday at Cadillac.
“We’re expecting a fight,” Kennedy said. “We don’t think it’s impossible. We can get the job done, but we have to play our game.”
The Aggies dropped the opening set of their regional final against Beaverton last Thursday before recording a 3-1 win.
“We heard they (St. Francis) have a big outside hitter, but we have some big blocks up, so hopefully we’ll be able to shut them down and take home the trophy,” Fillenworth said.
Tuesday’s quarterfinal is slated for 7 p.m.