By Tony Adams, Sports Editor
The Belton Lady Tigers, fresh off of their five-set, come-from-behind victory Tuesday night against Gatesville, returned to Hornet Gymnasium for the Gatesville Invitational Volleyball Tournament on Thursday.
Belton got nine kills and two aces from Allison Waits in the team’s first round win over McGregor 25-15 and 25-6.
The Lady Tigers and Lady Bulldogs split the first six points of the match before Waits and Brey York kills, paired with Chloe Bush and Elecia Jackson blocks help spark a 9-1 Belton run. McGregor closed the gap to five points at 13-8. The Lady Tigers closed out the set on a 12-7 clip to win by 10.
Waits had three consecutive kills to start the second set, which electrified the Lady Tigers, as they started off on a 13-1 run. McGregor won consecutive points just once in the second set, as Belton won the set by 19 and the match two sets to none.
The win moved the Lady Tigers into the second round against Dublin. Once again, the Lady Tigers were electric at the start, but were not as efficient in the second set. They won in straight sets over the Lady Lions 25-11 and 25-20.
Audrey Linder, Abbey Morgan and Breanna Farrell served the Lady Tigers into the lead, as Waits and York had key kills during the team’s 13-4 start. Cameron Kasberg, Anna Becker, and Kelsey Jones had key digs towards the latter part of the first set and the Lady Tigers’s initial run was the difference maker, as they took the set by 14.
Dublin fought Belton hard in the second set, taking a pair of two-point leads in the middle part of the game and led 11-9 when Belton came to life, with kills by York, Morgan and Waits to slingshot the Lady Tigers back into the lead for good.
The win put the Lady Tigers into the next round game with the Salado Lady Eagles, an opponent who will come to Belton for a Friday night game at 6:30 p.m. Friday.
Belton won the initial set, but Salado came back in the final two sets and won the match 25-17, 19-25 and 16-25.
After the teams split the first eight points, Belton grabbed a 10-5 lead, with Waits serving five consecutive points. Salado fought back to within three points at 11-8 before the Lady Tigers closed out the set on a 14-9 clip, ending the first set with an emphatic Waits kill to win the set by eight points.
The Lady Tigers jumped out to a 5-4 lead before Salado broke out on an 8-0 run to lead 12-5. Linder served an ace and Waits and York added kills, but Belton was only able to make up a point on the lead and Salado took the second set by six.
The teams see-sawed through the first points before 12-3 run to lead 15-6. Morgan and Waits had kills, while Morgan and York had aces to put the Lady Tigers back to within four points at 16-13. But a lethal 9-3 run gave the Lady Eagles the set by nine points and the match two sets to one.
Belton rebounds to win Gatesville Invitational fifth-place bracket
Avenging a three-set loss that Belton Lady Tigers suffered at the hands of the Salado Lady Eagles on Thursday afternoon in Gatesville with a straight-set win over Salado in Belton on Friday night, the Lady Tigers set their sights on winning the fifth-place bracket of the Gatesville Invitational Volleyball Tournament.
It was not an easy path, but the goal was achieved Saturday afternoon. The Lady Tigers dispatched Jarrell in straight sets (25-8 and 25-17) and was pushed by Groesbeck, but defeated the Lady Goats in three sets (25-17, 21-25 and 25-23).
The Lady Tigers went 4-1 in the tournament and are 10-6 overall, with Lorena coming to Tiger Gym on Tuesday in their first game with class in session. Game times will be 5:30 p.m. for Freshman and Junior Varsity. Varsity start time is slated for 6:30 p.m.
Belton was off and running, as Anna Becker served nine straight points, Kelsey Jones, Allison Waits and Brey York had early kills to jumpstart the Lady Tigers into an 11-2 lead. Following two Jarrell points, Waits, York and Abbey Morgan had kills, while Jamie Janczak and Elecia Jackson had blocks in an 11-4, set-closing run to give Belton the first set by 17 points.
The Lady Tigers jumped out to a quick 3-0 start in the second set before the Lady Cougars scored four straight points to take their only lead of the entire match, 4-3. Belton methodically pulled away outscoring Jarrell 21-14 to win the match two sets to none and set up the fifth-place final game against the Lady Goats of Groesbeck.
Belton struggled out of the gate against Groesbeck, falling behind 3-0 before taking a 5-4 lead. The Lady Goats fought back to take a 13-7 lead when Belton scored seven straight points and took a 14-13 lead. With the scored tied at 16-16, Jones, York and Waits contributed huge offensive plays as part of a 9-1, set-closing run to take the first set by eight points.
Groesbeck got another quick 3-0 start and this time extended it to a 6-1 lead before Belton head coach Stacy Meyers called a timeout. The Lady Tigers clawed their way into the lead at 12-10 before a lethal 15-9 run gave the Lady Goats the match tying set, winning by four points,
In the third and deciding set, Waits and Morgan combined for three kills to start the set, giving Belton a 4-1. Groesbeck tying the score at 6-6 and teams see-sawed before the Lady Tigers pulled away late to win the match by two.
Belton showed a ton of character getting off of the deck from their loss on Thursday afternoon that relegated the team to fifth-place bracket. After the first Salado loss, the team won seven of their last eight sets. The team has a 25-15 record in sets won over their current 10-6 stretch.