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ALL-AREA VOLLEYBALL: Sutter's Reynolds named COY

Even after 31 seasons of coaching high school volleyball, Ann Reynolds still gets excited about the little things.

A one-handed dig in the back row by a diving player, a tandem block at the net, a perfect set, when Reynolds sees her team execute what's taught in practice, she's ecstatic.

It's what drives her every year and one of the many reasons she decided not to retire a few years ago.

When she contemplated stepping down as Sutter High's head coach, her sons asked her a simple question, "Mom, what else are you going to do?"

Reynolds' love for her volleyball program, and especially the girls she works with every year, was reason enough for her to stay on and continue to build her legacy as one of the top coaches in Northern Section history.

"I really love doing it and I feel that eventually I'll kind of know when it's time — and it's getting close," Reynolds said. "I love coaching and making a team from a group of individuals. That's the part I love the best, blending 12 different personalities into one cohesive team."

She did it again in 2012 with a group of players who weren't necessarily superstars, but blended perfectly into Sutter's 16th straight Butte View League championship team. This year's group of Huskies also kept the program's BVL winning streak alive at 78 straight.

At the helm, was the steady force of Reynolds, who senior Erika Larsen said taught her everything about the game of volleyball.

"She's been doing it for so long and puts in so much time and patience to get it where she wants it," Larsen said. "The fact that she's been winning for so long says a lot."

She's now been named the Appeal-Democrat's All-Area Coach of the Year for the seventh time in her illustrious career. Reynolds was also pegged as the A-D's top coach in 2008, 2007, 2005, 2003, 1999 and 1997.

Ask Reynolds how many section titles she's won and she won't be able to give you an answer (six titles and nine championship game appearances).

She's not concerned with wins and losses. Reynolds wants to be there for her players through any situation, whether it's a bad game at the net, or a tough homework assignment in class.

"She's more than just a coach, she's always there for you," said junior Ava Payton. "I told her that she can't retire until I take her place."

Reynolds took over her alma mater's program in 1996 after serving 12 seasons as the Huskies' JV coach — she was coaching volleyball before her players were even born. She also teaches physical education at Sutter.

The 2012 season presented a new challenge to Reynolds in a group without one standout. Reynolds said this year's version of the Huskies was truly a team effort.

"Every game it was somebody different," Reynolds said. "I guess you could say it's good to have a balanced team like that because one girl doesn't feel the pressure — it's shared."

Larsen said it was Reynolds who brought the team together after a shaky start.

"We were a lot of different people with different personalities this year so it was kind of hard to get us together," Larsen said. "But she helped us become a team in the end.

"She puts us in our place a lot and doesn't take any attitude. That was really nice because we're girls — we have attitude."

With Reynolds as their guide, the Huskies learned to be a cohesive unit and coasted to the BVL title with an appearance in the Northern Section semifinals.

Payton will be back under Reynolds' guidance as a senior in 2013 and learned a valuable lesson in her first year under the matriarch of Sutter volleyball.

"She is always right with everything she says," Payton said with a laugh.

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