By Tony Adams
After a week off following 18 games in 15 days, the Belton Lady Tigers’ volleyball team took on the China Springs Lady Cougars, celebrating South Belton Middle School Volleyball night.
Playing without key setter Brey York due to a knee injury, the Lady Tigers were forced to juggle their lineup.
Periennially a tough team to play, the Lady Cougars jumped out to a big lead in the first set and held on for a three-set sweep of the Lady Tigers 25-14, 25-16 and 25-14.
The loss dropped Belton to 8-11 on the season.
Kelsie Jones got the Lady Tigers on the board in the first set with a beautiful to tie the first set at 1-1. China Spring proceeded to go on a 9-1 run, forcing Belton head coach Stacy Meyers to call a timeout for her team to regroup.
Audrey Linder helped served the Lady Tigers back to within five points at 10-5, getting a key block and kill from McKinzee Robinson. A 10-5 China Spring run doubled the lead to 10 at 20-10, forcing another Belton timeout.
The teams split the next eight points before the Lady Cougars put the set away and won by 11.
Anna Becker served the first four points of the second set, getting a picture-perfect Allison Waits kill and a cross-court shot from Abbey Morgan. China Spring rallied for the next four points to tie the game. The Lady Tigers took an 8-6 lead on two Robinson kills, just to have the Lady Cougars tie the score an 8-8 and once again at 11-11
Waits had two attacks before a Heather Rodgers ace for the Lady Cougars sparked a 7-1 rally, forcing Meyers to use her first timeout of the second set.
China Spring kept the pressure on, finishing out the set on a 14-5 run and winning the set by nine, forcing the Lady Tigers to have to win three sets in a row.
Belton took four of the first five points, fueled by a Waits attack and a key dig by Robinson after the ball hit the overhead beams. The Lady Cougars once again put together a 9-1 run to take a 10-5 lead and forced a Belton timeout.
Jackie Wainwright had an attack and a kill to bring the Lady Tigers back to 14-8. China Spring closed out the match with an 11-6 streak to win by 11.
Robinson had eight digs, seven blocks and five kills for the Lady Tigers. Becker had 16 digs, Chloe Bush had nine assists and Waits had four kills, two blocks, an assist and an ace for Belton.
“Without Brey in the lineup, it is a totally different dynamic,” said Meyers. “Totally threw Allison to the wolves in the first game and asked her to set. She did everything I asked her to do. That’s a good thing. Threw Chloe to the wolves in the second game. She’s a sophomore and it’s a learning experience. We should have played significantly better than what we did. We made too many errors that were unforced and unrelated to a new setter.”
The unforced errors were related to service errors, net violations and net line violations.
“Without Brey in the lineup, someone is going to need to step up,” said Meyers. “They have the talent to do it.”
The five losses in non-district, non-tournament play have been to quality opponents in Stony Point, Gatesville, Salado, Lorena and China Spring.
“I always want to schedule a tough schedule,” said Meyers. “An easy schedule gives you a false sense of what your team is made of. If I cared about my record, I’d schedule a fluff schedule. My record means nothing to me. It’s us playing the type of teams we will see in our district.”
The Lady Tigers host Waco University on Tuesday night, celebrating North Belton Middle School Volleyball night.