Former Big Red walks on at Marshall

PARKERSBURG – It’s not going to be your typical move-in time in Huntington for Lyxi Reeder. Parkersburg’s 2013 second team Class AAA all-state setter reports to school today and while most get familiar with roommates and those in the dormitory halls, Reeder picks up Thursday with 15 other girls with whom she already is familiar – the Marshall University volleyball team.

“Practice in Gullickson Hall at the Henderson Center,” she said Monday. “And it’s hotter than the (Memorial) fieldhouse. Hotter than it ever thought about it being.”

The five-foot-five Reeder is an invited walk-on, one of three on the team, and will be a Setter/DS in the program. That DS means defensive specialist which will have her playing the back row for the Thundering Herd – a member of Conference USA. Maggie Westfall of Gallia Academy in Gallipolis, Ohio is one walk-on and Jessica Sayre of George Washington in Charleston is the other.

Reeder had 317 sets played, 97 aces, 1,938 assists, 254 digs and 91 kills for the 53-7-1 Big Reds last year, who finished as a semifinalist in the West Virginia State Volleyball Tournament in Charleston. The Big Reds were eliminated by eventual champion Musselman.

The official offer was accepted July 11 during Marshall orientation although she had been talking with coach Mitch Jacobs since April. “I had played 18-under travel volleyball out of town and emailed coach. I thought ‘I can play at this level. We went to Disney and a couple of other bigger tournaments and played against that higher level of competition. Playing that winter ball did a lot for the self-confidence and bolstered the confidence the more I played.”

So after a bit of time with the Thundering Herd, her outlook on volleyball in the Division I level is? “It’s just intense,” she said. “Training is more intense, practice is more intense. Games are more intense. Balls just flying everywhere… all the time. The game is definitely a lot faster paced.

Marshall opens its season at home Friday, Aug. 29 with a 5:30 p.m. match in the Thunder Invitational against Eastern Michigan. The Herd was 16-16 and finished as a semifinalist in the conference tournament, losing 3-0 to the University of Texas San Antonio.

“Now all I’ve got to do is go pack,” she concluded. She rolled her eyes upward, put hands to face, and just shook her head. “Not looking forward to that.”