Reed, No. 1 IHA upend DePaul
One year ago to the day, Nia Reed was drenched in disappointment.
The All-American Penn State recruit collided with a teammate and suffered a broken wrist; she ended up missing 10 games – including the Bergen County tournament – and, consequently, was forced to watch her teammates find a way to win without her.
This year, free of any injury, Reed is enjoying every moment of playing and flat-out dominating. Such was on display once again on Tuesday afternoon, when the 6-foot-2 junior middle hitter helped Immaculate Heart Academy blow by DePaul in two games.
The Blue Eagles, who are ranked No. 1 in the all-new MSG Varsity New Jersey Top 10 poll, disposed of the Passaic County foe by scores of 25-13 and 25-16.
One of four student-athletes to be featured on the cover of MSG Varsity The Magazine’s fall issue, Reed recorded 14 kills, two blocks and three digs, while Michelle Cruz had 12 digs, eight service points and three aces.
Coming off a loss to Ward-Melville of Long Island in the Garden State Challenge tournament at Ramapo College on Sunday, Immaculate Heart rebounded and improved to 18-2. The Bergen County tournament’s seeding meeting will be held on Wednesday and it is believed the Blue Eagles may earn a bye in the first round, which kicks off on Saturday.
“(Having Monday off) definitely helped,” Reed said. “After the tournament, it was a long weekend and we knew we could do a lot better. But we’ve been improving every practice and just getting better.”
Thanks to Reed, IHA is favored to successfully defend their county title and Tournament of Champions crown. The Fort Lee native now has 274 kills – good for first in the state – and has helped setter Caitlyn Floyd become the most decorated freshman in the region.
Floyd recorded 15 assists against DePaul, enabling IHA cruise to a victory in the first game and then overcome a 12-10 deficit in the second. The Blue Eagles’ 15-4 run to close the final contest of the match caused the Spartans to drop to 10-3 overall.
“I think our blocking really helps us,” said Cruz, a do-it-all libero who is looking to play at Providence College next year. “We had to be on our toes for every play today.”
It was just another day at the office for Reed and company, 365 days after watching their best player suffer a devastating injury against Penfield (N.Y.) in its only loss of the year in 2011. Despite missing extended time, Reed finished the campaign with 233 kills and 34 blocks, establishing herself as the most celebrated player to come through Maria Nolan’s program since current Penn State star Ariel Scott (’09).
Now Reed is ready to add to her already sterling resume in the upcoming weeks.
Contact Brian Fitzsimmons at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter: @FitzWriter