BELTON — It certainly wasn’t the prettiest game Stacy Meyers has seen.
But all that mattered to the second-year Belton head volleyball coach was the end result.
The Lady Tigers opened their 2013 campaign on a winning note Monday night by sweeping Round Rock Stony Point 25-17, 26-24, 25-23.
Belton senior libero Kinsey Williams was in complete agreement with her coach.
“We did good, but we were playing really sloppy,” Williams said. “It wasn’t our game, we’re Belton, we have clean passes, clean sets, we’re supposed to be smart, put the ball in play and put it where they’re not and we just weren’t doing that tonight. I think it’s because we were nervous for the first game.”
Both teams traded points early in the first game until Belton went on a run of 10 straight points behind the service of senior Bailey Borger. By the time she finished serving, the score was 18-6 Belton and Stony Point couldn’t overcome such a deficit.
Belton’s smooth sailing ended there, though.
From the start of the second game, neither side scored more than a few consecutive points in a tightly contested match.
Mental mistakes plagued Belton in the middle game, but a couple of timely digs kept them in it as the two squads traded six consecutive points back and forth before Belton was finally able to string two consecutive points together to win, 26-24.
Meyers attributed the late struggles to a bit of overconfidence after a relatively easy first set.
“We got a little sloppy after the first game,” Meyers said. “We went to the new lineup with Monica (Gonzalez) in it but we really didn’t change what we were doing. We got kind of relaxed, got a little excited, we were doing so well in the first game that we kind of got a little too much confidence.”
The third set began much like the second, with Stony Point holding a narrow lead as the teams exchanged points early. It wasn’t until a big kill from Williams and then three straight points with Williams at the service line that Belton was able to build a 19-16 lead, one they wouldn’t surrender the rest of the game.
Even though Meyers wanted her team to play with more focus, she was still happy with where Belton is compared to their first match a season ago.
“Still a big difference,” Meyers said. “I even told them if this was last year’s team in their first game we would have rolled over and played dead. They wouldn’t have fought to come back and win. They didn’t have the confidence, they didn’t have the fight early last year. They developed it and got a lot better at it, but this year we’re starting with that confidence.”
Part of the reason for that confidence is experience. Belton only has 10 players on the varsity, but seven of them are seniors.
“They’re going to get fired up and say ‘we’re not giving up,’” Meyers said. “They tell themselves ‘we’re not going to do this again.’ We’ve got seven seniors and most of them are on the court on and off all of the time. It’s good to have those kids that are confident and know now they can fight back and win games and be confident in that.”
Seniors Brieanne Brown and Williams combined for 32 digs on the night and were a big reason why Stony Point couldn’t get any momentum going.
And on offense, any time Belton needed a big point, Williams or Brown were there. Williams, the libero, accounted for 21 digs on her own. But despite her personal stats, Williams saw plenty to improve on.
“We missed a lot of serves,” Williams said. “Serves, we’re supposed to put them in, it’s supposed to be the easiest part of the game and we missed too many of them so we lost too many easy points.”
Belton now has a couple of days to prepare before it takes a big step up in competition at the Austin Westwood Showcase, which starts Thursday.
“We’re going to have to do some things a lot better,” Meyers said. “We won’t get such a big lead in the first game and get that kind of confidence so hopefully we’ll stay a little more focused throughout the whole day. We’re seeded third in our pool so we’re not expected to be above the third place team, we’ll have to work a little harder and hopefully stay a little more focused and not be as sloppy in some areas.”