CORSICANA — Belton’s volleyball team found out the hard way on Monday that height is not necessary for a good hitting attack.
Mansfield Timberview used execution, speed and jumping ability to overpower Belton, handing the Lady Tigers a 25-16, 25-19, 25-21 loss in a Class 5A bi-district playoff at Corsicana High School’s Tiger Gym. Timberview nearly doubled up Belton on kills with a 55-28 advantage.
Bryanna Lawrence and Haley Collins led the attack of the Lady Wolves with 16 each. They were usually set up by Keianna Hardy, who used fast, accurate passes for 44 assists.
When it came to height, however, Timberview and Belton were about even.
The difference at the net was speed, and perhaps a case of nerves from the Lady Tigers.
“Their middle blockers were really fast,” said Belton libero Kinsey Williams. “We were really nervous and excited. We wanted to win so bad.”
Belton (21-15) was eliminated in the bi-district round. Timberview (23-22) advanced to the area round to face Colleyville Heritage later this week.
Timberview showed better ability to set up plays early.
The Lady Wolves had a 19-8 edge in kills in Game 1, six by Lawrence.
Hardy had 14 assists for Timberview in Game 1. Brieanne Brown had five kills for Belton while Williams had eight digs.
Belton had a 9-7 lead in Game 2 before Timberview went on a 7-0 run to take the lead for good, with Lawrence making four of her eight kills in the run.
Haley Collins added six kills for Timberview, part of an 18-11 advantage.
Williams had seven digs, but the Lady Tigers had three service errors, the third causing coach Stacy Meyers to yell out in frustration.
“We had an 8-6 lead in the second game, but we gave them half their points,” Meyers said. “The run in the second game was big. We didn’t move the ball around and pass as well as we should have.”
Lawrence had five service points as part of an 8-2 run to help Timberview take a 23-14 lead in Game 3. Collins had seven kills in the game.
Belton’s Brieanne Brown had five kills and 10 digs in Game 3 to cap her high-school career with a 14-kill, 16-dig match. Timberview coach Beth Wills said while her team handled Belton’s offense well the Lady Wolves never figured out a way to consistently stop Brown.
“We expected off-speed hitting from them and I think we handled it pretty well,” Wills said. “The left-hander, number three (Brown), did a really good job. She has a really good arm on her.”
Timberview was also able to match what has often been Belton’s strength this season: defense.
Timberview had 68 digs, 19 by Alyssa Hernandez who also added eight kills.
Libero Bailea Higgs added 18 digs for the Lady Wolves.
Williams led Belton with 19 digs. Bailey Borger had 16 assists for the Lady Tigers.
The match capped the high-school career for seven Belton seniors, including Brown, Williams, Machaela Moore, Monica Gonzalez, Danae Allison, Bailey Borger and Brooklyn Borger. They have been at the core of two playoff teams after Belton had a 5-31 record in 2011.
“This is definitely bittersweet,” Brown said. “Being in the playoffs is awesome, but me, Kinsey and Machaela really wanted to make it to the second round.”
The seniors have also made Meyers’ first two years at Belton successful, with a combined record of 48-28. It’s a group that will probably create fond memories for Meyers.
“I will never complain about a team that gave everything they had,” Meyers said. “If I asked them to run through a wall, I believe they would.”