By Nick Talbot
Killeen Daily Herald
BELTON - That was not the team Belton coach Justeen Coulson wanted to see on the opening night of the volleyball season.
It was not the team she had seen in practice. But it was the team that showed up for her Monday.
Playing a lackluster defense that the Lady Tigers coach could not explain, Belton lost 25-16, 25-11, 25-15 to Round Rock Stony Point.
Coulson rated her team's overall performance a C-minus. Her blocking and defense? A D-minus-minus-minus.
"Let's just say that is the worst we have played since Aug. 1," she said. "Preseason was going great. Practices were looking awesome and I was super excited. ... But we looked like a completely different team."
Coulson cited her team's youth as a problem in the season's first game.
"Maybe, a lot of them are just young," she said. "So, it could be that. I am not trying to make excuses for them, but a lot of them didn't get a lot of playing time last season."
Belton actually had the early 5-4 advantage after Madison McMillan had two kills and a block to start Game 1.
However, Stony Point ran off the next four points and never gave the lead back to the Lady Tigers.
Belton pulled within two, 11-9, after an Emily Waits ace, but as the two teams traded attack errors for the next dozen points, Belton could not get back in the game.
Brieanna Brown had one of her team-high four kills to pull the Lady Tigers within 18-15. But Stony Point ran off seven of the last eight points to take the game.
Belton never found a rhythm in Game 2.
Rachel Johnson had a block and Allison Wagman landed an ace to put Stony Point up 8-3. Maggie Kramer came up with a kill to cut the lead to three, but again Stony Point went on a run, outscoring Belton 14-3 to take a 22-8 lead.
In Game 3, Brittany Hartman railed off three of her game-high eight kills.
Waits and Brown had a block to end the bleeding at 11-5.
But Johnson had another kill and Dana Faught, who led everyone with 24 assists, had an ace.
Belton has a chance to make a quick turnaround today when it hosts Salado at 6 p.m.
"Let's just hope it gets better tomorrow, because Salado is a team we need to beat," Coulson said. "Hopefully we will have our confidence again."