CORSICANA — The top seed from a competitive Dallas-area volleyball district taking on a team that had to win six matches in a row and fight for a final playoff spot wouldn’t seem to be a competitive matchup, and Rockwall-Heath’s straight-set victory over the Belton Lady Tigers might suggest just that.
The action on the floor said otherwise, though, as the Lady Hawks had to earn every bit of their 25-17, 25-23, 25-22 sweep of the Lady Tigers in a Class 6A bi-district match Tuesday night.
“Belton is ... I’m impressed,” said Heath coach Maggie Younger, whose Lady Hawks will take on McKinney in the area round. “Those kids worked hard. You could tell they wanted it and didn’t let a ball drop.”
Belton let so few shots drop that the first two sets were played almost point-for-point.
The opening set was tied three times, and Belton (19-25) never trailed by more than three until Heath (33-14) went on a six-point run to turn a 16-15 lead into a 22-15 advantage.
The Lady Tigers got two points back before the Lady Hawks closed out the set, with the final point coming on an ace by Maddison Parmelly.
Belton’s toughness was led by setter Emily Holder, who led the Lady Tigers with eight kills that included three off dinks.
“There was a lot of out-of-system balls,” Younger said. “We aren’t used to the setter taking it to us. That was a different look for us.”
Belton kept the pressure on in the second set. Though it was tied 11 times, Belton led most of it and never trailed by more than a point until Heath took the lead for good when setter Laurel Nalls tipped the ball over the net to give the Lady Hawks a 22-21 edge. Leah Green followed with an ace, and Heath went on a short run to lead 24-21 before Belton tried to get back in it late.
“They kept coming at us,” Younger said. “They didn’t let up and that was very tough. I’m glad we had a game like that headed into the second round.”
The Lady Hawks never trailed in the final set but still had a hard time closing out the Lady Tigers, who rallied from a seven-point deficit to cut the gap to 22-20, before Heath scored three of the next five points to end it.
It was the final match for Belton seniors Madison Ward, Kelsey Surovik, Shelby Elliott, Jaci Cauble and Sidney Stanford. Fellow senior Kamryn Madden injured her ankle in the regular-season finale and did not play.
TUESDAY'S PLAYOFF VOLLEYBALL SCORES
- Copperas Cove def. Mesquite Horn 25-12, 25-14, 25-8
- Rockwall def. Ellison 25-19, 25-15, 25-14
- Rockwall-Heath def. Belton 25-17, 25-23, 25-21
- Boerne def. Salado 25-9, 25-16, 25-18
- No. 2 Midlothian Heritage def. Gatesville 25-11, 25-13, 25-15