TEMPLE — Tuesday night for the Belton Lady Tigers was a night that saw significant growth.
Tuesday night for the Temple Tem-Cats was one of further growing pains.
In a match that typified the direction the teams are heading, Belton used a variety of lineup combinations and still kept the pedal to the metal for a 25-7, 25-7, 25-7 win over the Tem-Cats at Wildcat Gym in Temple.
Belton (17-8, 2-0 District 8-5A) remained in a three-way tie for the district lead with Copperas Cove and Ellison, and looked good doing it.
“This is the first game all year that we didn’t play down and continued to play consistent and smart,” Lady Tigers coach Stacy Meyers said. “We swung at balls good and moved around on defense.”
Meanwhile, the Tem-Cats (4-22, 0-2) are still looking for a spark to ignite them. Losses to playoff contenders Cove and Belton hasn’t helped matters.
“I think we’re psyching ourselves out in games like these,” first-year Temple coach Timothy McDonald. “I know we have good volleyball players with skills and ability. They just play uptight and nervous and without a sense of passion.”
It was difficult for the Tem-Cats to get any footing against the Lady Tigers. Temple scored back-to-back points only twice.
Belton used long scoring runs in the first two games to account for the lopsided scores. In fact, the Lady Tigers scored the final 14 points of the first game to obliterate what had been a contested opener.
With Belton up 11-7, Brieanne Brown put down a spike, took over service duty and never relinquished it. She provided two aces during the run and was aided by a pair of McKinzee Robinson kills along with those from Brey York, Allison Waits and Machaela Moore to finish that one off in a hurry.
The second game saw the long streak occur much earlier as the Lady Tigers ran off 12 straight to go from a 3-2 edge to a 15-2 lead. Robinson was at the serving helm for that run and got it started with an ace. Brown rang up three kills during the span, and another from Moore extended it before Temple’s Jenna Green ended it with a kill.
Belton collected the final six points on Kinsey Williams’ service, which included an ace.
The final game saw the same results, with the Lady Tigers scoring in three- and four-point chunks while never allowing the Tem-Cats to score successive points. Monica Gonzalez, Robinson, Brown and Abbey Morgan all had multiple kills during the closing game.
Brown led the way with nine kills and four aces. Moore dished out 16 assists, Robinson had seven kills and Williams picked up 13 digs in the Lady Tigers’ balanced attack.
“Consistency-wise, this is Belton volleyball,” Meyers said. “We’re feeling good heading (into Waco Midway). The excitement level and the aggressiveness are good. It’s always good to move on with a win and confidence.
“(Temple) scored 21 points and we had five missed serves. I think that’s pretty good.”
Madeline Rodriguez led the Tem-Cats with 12 digs, Angelica Rivera added eight, and Green managed three kills.
“We’re playing a lot of young kids and they don’t understand how young,” McDonald said. “We’ve just got to find a way to put the ball on the floor. We’ve got to attack. We’re playing safe, unaggressive volleyball.”