Belton Lady Tigers’ volleyball captain Maggie Kramer noticed the hitting struggles in warm-ups Tuesday.
So, the game plan changed — just get the ball in.
Utilizing safe tip shots, the Lady Tigers kept the ball in play. The Killeen Lady Roos did not.
Alexus Dunning and Brieanne Brown each led Belton with six kills and the Lady Tigers swept Killeen 25-10, 25-23, 25-16 to open the second half of the District 8-5A schedule.
“It’s more of a game plan. If you tip it there once and you score, well, keep doing it until you don’t score anymore,” Kramer said. “It’s really not about hitting the ball as hard as you can, it’s about getting the point.”
Belton (23-11, 5-3 8-5A) withstood the Lady Roos’ rally in Game 2 and broke away for the sweep with an 11-4 run late in Game 3.
After playing district leaders Copperas Cove and Harker Heights last week, Belton coach Stacy Meyers thought her team played a little too relaxed against Killeen. And the Lady Roos, a team that seemingly builds talent with momentum, nearly changed the entire complexion of the match in Game 2.
“When it started getting close, even them getting a little bit of a lead, ‘Okay, we’ve got to get serious.’ They pulled themselves back well for that,” Meyers said. “They know they shouldn’t have let it get to that point, but at least I didn’t have to call timeout, they did it themselves.”
Killeen (18-24, 1-7), a playoff team in Class 4A the last two years, trailed by as many as four in Game 2, but scrapped back to tie the game at 19-19. But missed serves, a hindrance for Killeen throughout the match, did in the Lady Roos’ rally. Belton scored six of the final 10 points in the Game 2 beginning with a Killeen missed serve to eke out the two-point win.
“Part of it is we have such great chemistry. All of us are best friends — I would lay my life down for one of those of girls and if we know we need to fight, we come together really well,” Kramer said of the Lady Tigers’ hold in Game 2.
The Lady Tigers offense, not flashy but consistent, picked up rhythm in Game 3 using soft tips shots and well-designed attacks that found the holes in Killeen’s defense.
Belton pulled away from a 9-9 tie with a string of kills from Monica Gonzalez, Kramer, Savannah Frick and Kyler Watkins that helped build an 18-13 Lady Tigers’ lead. Gonzalez then had two kills and a block at the end and Belton earned the win on a Killeen attack that got stuck in the net.
“We should’ve gotten to it, no doubt, but it’s not an easy transition to get to,” Killeen coach Shelly Harris said of defending against the tips. “I guess we need to work on more tips, because our blocking has become pretty consistent, so then, they began tipping.”
Alicia Brown led the Lady Roos with eight kills and Tiare Dugger had four blocks. Esha Atkins had 18 assists and Dominique Pettway had seven digs.
Madelyn Graves led Belton with 11 assists, Gonzalez had six blocks and Kinzie Williams had 12 digs for Belton, which also had seven aces in the match.