By Tony Adams
The Belton Lady Tigers Volleyball kicked off the school year’s sports schedule in grand style Monday night at Tiger Gym with a three-set sweep over the visiting Lady Tigers of Round Rock Stony Point.
Belton won the three sets by the scores of 25-17, 26-24 and 25-23.
In the first set, Stony Point and Belton seesawed through the first ten points of the match tied at five each. Belton then went on a 13-1 run to take an 18-6 lead as senior Bailey Borger held service for 10 consecutive points during the run. Stony Point was not able to make up enough ground and surrendered the first match by eight points.
Belton jumped out to a quick 3-1 lead in the second set. However, Stony Point picked up momentum and proceeded to jump out to a 12-7 lead. A diving dig by senior Kinsey Williams, swinging the momentum back in Big Red’s direction, thwarted the streak. The dig didn’t start to take hold on Belton until they trailed 15-11. Stony Point’s errors swung the score back in favor of Belton 19-17.
Stony Point converted four consecutive Emily Evans’ serves to give the visitors a 21-19 lead.
“We got a little sloppy after the first game,” said Belton head coach Stacy Meyers. “We adjusted our lineup with Monica (Gonzalez) in it. We got a little too excited and started swinging at balls and got away from the fundamentals we had been doing. We got a little too confident and a little too lazy.”
“Their best hitters were on the right side,” continued Meyers. “Usually, the outside is their best hitters. But tonight, their best hitters were on the right side. We didn’t adjust to that soon enough. It throws off your defense when you don’t plan for that and we didn’t adjust soon enough.”
The teams gritted it out to a 24-24 tie. Needing to win by two, Belton converted the next two plays. Senior Michaela Moore converted the set winner and gave Belton a 26-24 set victory and 2-0 set lead.
The third set was close all the way through, as Belton was able to hold a pair of three-point leads and Stony Point led by two points.
“This year, we’re confident,” said Meyers. “This time last year, we would have just rolled over. This year, we’re not going to just give it to you. We’re going to make you beat us. The last two sets, we struggled. But the mental toughness and the fight was the difference.”
Williams knows the team played well, but much work needs to occur before the next outing.
“We missed a good number of serves,” said Williams. “It’s supposed to be the easiest part of the game and we missed too many of them and gave up points. We did good, but we didn’t play our game. We are Belton. We make clean shots and sets, we’re supposed to be the smartest school when we put the ball in play and put it where they’re not. We didn’t do that.”
The Belton front line played tall and tough upfront, combating shots that came their direction all night long.
“Our front line was great tonight,” said Williams. “I liked our blocking. We followed the ball really well. It’s hard to be a blocker. I love to dig and the digs come off of the block.”
The Sixth Annual Westwood Showcase Tournament starts Thursday. Pool play begins with matches against Lake Travis (seeded fourth in tourney), El Paso Coronado (seeded ninth in tournament) and TMI-Episcopal (seeded 21 in the tournament). Belton is seeded 16 in the tournament and third in Pool 6. The six-pool, 24-team tournament features some of the best volleyball teams in the state. Also in the tournament are Temple (in Pool 3, ranked 15), Gatesville (in Pool 6, ranked 18) and Killeen Ellison (in Pool 6, ranked 19).
“Hopefully, we will stay focused on every point throughout the tournament and not just parts of it,” said Meyers.
“We have a couple of days practice left before the tournament,” said Williams. “Hopefully, it will all come together.”