COPPERAS COVE — On Friday night there was a group of players wearing red jerseys on the court that were equally as pumped up during Game 2 as a coach was on the bench.
The odd thing is they were on different sides of the net and were excited for different reasons.
Bryaunea Hall had 15 kills while UT-Arlington commit Qiana Canete added 18 kills and nine blocks to help the Copperas Cove Lady Bulldawgs (35-7, 10-1 District 8-5A) find their form and sweep the Belton Lady Tigers (22-12, 7-4) 25-13, 25-17, 25-11 at the Bulldawg Gym.
“(Coach) Cari Lowery is a very momentum (driven) person and someone on the bench said it’s probably the most excited they’ve seen her in awhile,” Hall said.
The win helps the postseason-bound Lady Dawgs keep pace with Waco Midway for first place in District 8-5A. Meanwhile Belton’s loss combined with Ellison’s win over Temple puts the Lady Tigers and Lady Eagles in a tie for third place in the district.
Belton and Ellison lead Killeen by two games with three remaining in the regular season.
Brieanne Brown led Belton with 10 digs and two kills while Machaela Moore added 10 assists and six digs and Monica Gonzalez had six blocks.
After cruising to a 12-point win in Game 1, Cove struggled to get things going in Game 2 and Belton was took advantage.
McKinzee Robinson, a junior middle hitter, scored three of the first four Belton points in the second frame and an attacking error by Cove put Belton ahead 8-2 and forced a Lady Dawg timeout.
“I can’t give away my secrets,” Lowery joked about the timeout. “You just got to do what you’ve got to do to get them motivated somehow. They know what they’re capable of doing and they are a team of perfectionist, which is the kind of team I like to coach because I’m a perfectionist myself.”
From that point Canete and Hall took control of the front of the net and Cove found its form.
With Belton leading 13-12, Hall threw down three consecutive big spikes from the middle of the court and Canete followed with another kill to help Cove take a 16-13 lead.
“It was a lack of concentration,” Hall said. “If we would have been focused the whole time, we could have easily not dug that hole.”
The Lady Tigers led 3-1 in Game 3, but another Hall kill sparked a 14-1 Lady Dawg run.
“They’re good, I’m not going to act like they’re not,” Belton coach Stacy Meyer said. “(In) the third game, we played more scared than we did just to play.”
Mikayla Blount was Cove’s top helper with 30 assists and the duo of Lexi Perez and Destiny Henderson helped the Lady Dawg defense with 23 and 19 digs, respectively.
Senior libero Kinsey Williams had a strong game defensively for Belton with 14 digs.
Cove hosts Killeen on Tuesday while Belton visits Harker Heights.