BELTON — After a rough weekend at the Round Rock Westwood tournament, Belton head coach Stacy Meyers wanted to see her young team make some improvements against a veteran Gatesville squad.
The Lady Tigers took some steps in the right direction but the Lady Hornets’ experience and play at the net gave them the edge in a 25-19, 25-17, 25-22 sweep on Tuesday night at Tiger Gym.
“We knew they were going to be tough,” Meyers said. “We’ve kind of set goals per game. We’re working on fixing some things that we’re learning. We did a lot better in some areas tonight. There were positives for sure tonight.”
Belton (4-7) had its best chances when it could keep games a back-and-forth affair, but miscues by the Lady Tigers and the dominant hitting of Gatesville (9-2) seniors Kayla McGiboney, Lexi Hall and Brianna Poe helped the Lady Hornets build some separation on the way to wins.
It wasn’t until the third game that Belton showed some fight and didn’t fall apart in the final points.
Gatesville opened up a 12-6 lead but several missed attacks by the Lady Hornets helped the Lady Tigers stay in the chase. Belton trailed 19-15 before back-to-back kills by Abbey Morgan and Brey York cut it to 19-17 and forced Lady Hornets head coach Rickey Phillips to call a timeout.
A four-hit error coming out of the break made it 19-18 but Gatesville regrouped behind a pair of kills by Michaela King, the second of which made it 24-22. McGiboney closed it out with her match-high 13th kill.
“Any time you can come in here and beat a good program like Belton, you’ve done something,” Phillips said. “Coach Meyers’ teams, they’re so well-coached, they’re so fundamental, they pass the ball so well — I told the kids, we’ve won nine games now and I’m more proud of this one than any of the other ones so far because this is a tough place to win and it always has been for us.”
The Lady Tigers played back-and-forth early on in the first game before kills by McKinzee Robinson and York helped Belton stake out a 12-10 advantage.
Gatesville came back to take a 15-12 lead but back-to-back blocks by Marissa Heffley and Allison Waits capped a brief Lady Tigers rally that tied it at 15.
The Lady Hornets then scored six straight to pull ahead 21-15 and survived a four-point push by Belton to win 25-19.
The Lady Tigers again started strong in the second game, grabbing a 10-9 advantage when a Gatesville attack sailed out.
A kill by Hall tied it after a Lady Hornets timeout and Belton failed to get the ball over the net in the next rally, giving Gatesville the lead for good.
The Lady Tigers were still within three when a Lady Hornets net violation made it 20-17, but Gatesville closed it out with five straight points.
“They run a real quick offense,” Meyers said. “That’s one of the things that we really struggled with is we haven’t played an offense that fast, so we struggled with that a little bit tonight.”
York finished with six kills and eight assists while Robinson had seven blocks and eight digs. Anna Becker had 13 digs.
Hall had 12 kills for the Lady Hornets and Poe followed with 11.