BELTON — After winning five straight matches, including an impressive win over District 12-6A leader Waco Midway, the Belton Lady Tigers finally met their match against the Ellison Lady Eagles.
Ellison topped Belton in three hard-fought sets, 25-20, 25-17, 27-25, on Tuesday night to build a half-game lead over the Lady Tigers for third place in the district standings.
“This was huge,” Ellison coach Sarah Stolley said. “Belton is always a tough place to play. They bring a great crowd. My girls knew the importance of this match and it’s cool that they settled in.”
The win put Ellison (27-10) at 9-3 in district, ahead of Belton (18-22, 9-4).
One point was indicative of the match.
The Lady Tigers were up 24-23 in the third set but couldn’t pull it out. The Lady Eagles used several diving digs on attacks by Abbey Karcher, Semira Fields and Emily Holder to keep the point alive before winning it on Nesiyah Smith’s block of a Karcher attack.
“It’s absolutely a case where the details mattered,” Belton coach Krystal Brodbeck said. “And the details added up. Ellison came out ready to play tonight. They wanted it a little more.”
Ellison had an 11-5 lead in the opening set, only to see Belton storm back to go up 12-11. It remained a back-and-forth set until the Lady Eagles used a late run to turn a 17-16 lead into a 23-17 advantage and close out the set.
“We fell into that same problem last Friday, dropping the first set to Temple,” Brodbeck said. “It tends to be a fluidity problem with our offense. We have to regroup and refocus. We can’t afford with the competition in the district as strong as it is to wait that long to fire up.”
After a tight few points in the second set, the end result was the same, with Ellison going on a four-point run to take a 16-10 lead.
“Winning that first set was huge,” Stolley said. “Volleyball is such a game of momentum, and to come here and take the first set got us going.”
Belton seemed to find its rhythym in the third set, jumping out to an early five-point lead. Ellison came back to tie it, and the teams remained within a point of each other from 18-all until the Lady Eagles closed it out.
“We have to give Ellison great credit,” Brodbeck said. “They were prepared and it showed in the way they played.”
Ellison’s preparation was the result of weeks of planning.
“We’ve been game planning for this match for two weeks,” Stolley said. “We knew this was a big match as far as position goes, and we’ve been getting ready for it.”
TUESDAY'S 12-6A VOLLEYBALL
- No. 11 Copperas Cove def. Harker Heights 25-12, 25-8, 25-14
- Ellison def. Belton 25-20, 25-17, 27-25
- Temple def. Waco 25-11, 25-10, 25-10
- Waco Midway def. Shoemaker 25-14, 25-22, 25-15
- No. 11 Copperas Cove at Waco Midway, 5:30 p.m.
- Harker Heights at Waco, 5:30 p.m.
- Shoemaker at Ellison, 5:30 p.m.
- Temple at Killeen, 5:30 p.m.