KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — The Baumholder Lady Bucs went into the Division III volleyball title game against top-seeded Marymount with two things going for them — momentum from a comeback victory over the Royals on Friday night and an extra coach who inspires in spirit and long-distance phone calls.

"I talk to him all the time," Baumholder senior captain Katrina Alsup said of longtime Baumholder volleyball coach Mike Reilly, who underwent surgery this week to remove a brain tumor. "He was my coach for three years and this was supposed to be my last year with him."

A course of chemotherapy forced Reilly to relinquish the coach’s chair to Katrina’s father, Sam Alsup, this season. Reilly left for the States for his surgery last week, but that didn’t stop his conversations with his captain.

"He coaches from across the ocean," Katrina Alsup said Friday. "I tell him what’s going on and he tells me what we should do."

Alsup said she talked to Reilly on Thursday, and that the prognosis for her coach was encouraging.

"He said he had an MRI yesterday and that it came out clear," Alsup said. "There’s no cancer or anything. He said he’d have another MRI in December and then be back."

Coach Alsup said Reilly does more than offer coaching tips.

"They’re playing for him," he said after his team’s 21-25, 25-10, 16-14 pool victory over Marymount in a game that had no effect on the championship-game pairings, but did have the team thinking about the title.

Added Katrina, "We know that if we bring our ‘A’ game, we can win."

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