By Tony Adams
Sometimes you win games you don’t play your best in. Sometimes you lose games in which you play very hard and don’t let adversity get you down.
The latter could be said about the Belton Lady Tigers game against the Waco Midway Pantherettes at Tiger Gym Tuesday night.
Belton managed to push Midway to extra points in the first and third sets, but fell to a very talented Pantherette squad 26-24, 25-19 and 26-24.
The win gave Midway a 9-1 record in District 8-5A, good for a share of first place. The loss dropped Belton to 7-3 in District, still good for third place with a trip to Copperas Cove upcoming this Friday.
In a night where the two teams combined on to have a “Dig Fest for West”, the fans helped the teams raise $736.15 for West to help them buy new volleyball equipment following the tragedy back in April.
The Lady Tigers jumped out to a 17-12 lead before Midway worked their way back into the match. The Pantherettes caught Belton at 22. Both teams worked the score to 24 before two Midway points earned them the first set.
“We played completely amazing considering I put in a complete wrong lineup,” said Belton coach Stacy Meyers. “We didn’t have a middle at some points in the set and at some points we had two centers. I was so proud of them for fighting through that.”
Midway jumped out to a 3-0 lead to start the second set when Danae Allison served the Lady Tigers back into the lead at 4-3. The teams seesawed back and forth before Midway took a 13-12 lead and didn’t look back, though the game played much closer than the score appeared.
The Pantherettes jumped out to a quick 7-0 lead in the third set before Meyers called a timeout to stem the rally. It proved to be a great move, as the Belton fans got behind the team as they rallied back with a 16-9 run, tying the score at 16-16.
“I told them that you don’t want to go out like this,” said Meyers, of her message to the team during the timeout. “You worked too hard, today and all year. You don’t want to go out like this. Just have fun and play.”
With the score tied 18-18, Brieanne Brown served an ace to give Belton the lead. It was a serve that not only brought the Lady Tigers’ fans to their feet, most of them didn’t sit for the rest of the match. With Belton leading 21-20, the teams had a strong rally going before a controversial call on a Pantherette shot clearly out of bounds on the Belton backline was ruled in-bounds by the line judge and tied the game. The call incensed all in attendance. The Lady Tigers played through the blown call, matching the Pantherettes point-for-point up to a 24-24 tie. Midway squeezed two more points out to pull out the set and the hard-fought match.
Kinsey Williams had 17 digs and Allison had 11 for Belton. Brown had five kills, nine digs and a service ace. Abbey Morgan and Allison Waits both had four kills. Monica Gonzalez had three kills and five blocks. and Machaela Moore five digs and eight assists.
“Considering they beat Cove the other night, we took them to 24, 19 and 24, I feel great about it,” said Meyers. “We have a great mentality going into the playoffs, fighting for points, making teams earn their points against us.”
In the JV matchup against Midway, coach Jordan Petter’s team took the Pantherettes to three sets, winning the first set 25-22 but dropping the final two 25-10 and 25-23.
The Lady Tigers jumped out to an 8-0 to start the match and built a 20-9 lead. Midway went on an 11-0 run to tie the game at 20-20 before Belton pulled out the first set.
Belton led the second set 9-7 before an 18-1 run by Midway knocked the two squads into a deciding third set.
The Lady Tigers jumped out to a 6-1 lead. With Belton leading 23-18, Midway closed Belton out with a 7-0 run to win the set and the match.
In freshman action against Midway, the Lady Tigers fell in straight sets to the Pantherettes 25-9 and 25-17.
Last Friday night, the Lady Tigers had a great start that led Belton to a straight-set win 25-10, 25-14 and 25-11 over Temple.