By Tony Adams
The Belton Lady Tigers started working toward their preseason on Monday night, as they took to the road for the first two-game night of the Centex Volleyball League at Robinson High School.
The league consists of eight games over a four-night period over the next eight nights.
In the first game of the night, the Lady Tigers took on Class 4A’s regional semifinalist Lorena (Red).
The Lady Tigers went down 3-0 in the first game before Elicia Jackson’s first kill of the match put Belton on the board. Belton worked the score to a 4-4 tie before a Lady Leopards’ six-point run out them up 10-4. Chloe Bush had a kill to stop the run, but Lorena posted a 7-1 run to force a time out with the Lady Tigers trailed 17-6. Cameron Kasberg and Breanna Farrell had service points with Elyse Dobos chipping in with a kill, but Lorena was too much in the first set, 25-8.
Belton jumped out to a 5-0 advantage on five straight Kasberg service points, aided by two kills apiece from Jackson and Farrell and a kill from Jamie Janczak. Lorena worked their way back into the game with a 7-3 run and trailed by one. After a service point from Kale Kincannon, the teams seesawed back and forth, with Belton edging out to a three-point lead, 13-10. Lorena caught a second wind and it resulted in an 11-4 run, forcing Belton into a time out, trailing 21-17. Lorena had a service error out of the timeout, but closed the game on a 4-1 run to win 25-19.
The Lady Tigers once again jumped out to an advantage, this time 3-1. Again, Lorena sprinted back into the game and took a 7-5 lead. But two unforced errors resulted in a 7-0 run for Lorena. Belton closed the 7-1 run, but time ran out in the session, resulting in a 15-12 third-game win for Lorena and a 3-0 sweep.
Belton took on Abbott in the second game of the night and looked much more relaxed. Jackson had two kills in the first six points, with Bush and Farrell each collecting one. A 9-1 run to start the first game helped Belton play a fundamentally-sound game. The Lady Tigers kept pressing the Lady Panthers and forced them into a timeout with a 16-5 lead. Belton closed out the set on a 9-6 clip, with Bush closing the set with a kill as the Lady Tigers took the first game 25-11.
Abbott and Belton split the first four points before Farrell served 16 consecutive points, including two aces. Dobos and Jackson each collected a block and a kill, forcing another Abbott timeout at 18-2. A pair of service aces and kills by Jackson and Kyla Brown got the Lady Tigers back to game point. Bush closed out the game with her second game-point kill of the match, as Belton took the second set 25-5.
Belton jetted out to another big lead, taking advantages of 5-0, 7-1 and 8-3 before Abbott started to play with more grit and worked the score back to 9-6. The Lady Tigers put together 16-6 run to close out the third set, 25-12 and win the match 3-0.
Belton head coach Krystal Brodbeck and assistant coaches Whitney Landers and Jordan Petter observed the Lady Tigers from the stands. This is the second tournament that Brodbeck has observed since she took over as head volleyball coach and felt that the team improved as the night went on.
“Despite some communication kinks common when you have a mix of new faces, I felt the girls showed improvement as the night progressed,” Brodbeck said. “It’s obvious that they were intentionally trying for a quicker offense at times. I am confident that their involvement in this league will only heighten their awareness of target points to push for this season.”
Belton takes on Live Oak and Waco High in post-press time games on Wednesday. They take on Lorena (White) at 4 p.m. and Whitney at 6 p.m. Monday night. They will play West at 5 p.m. and Waco Cougars at 6 p.m. Those four games will be at Robinson High School.