BELDING – A week long schedule of events created by the B Foundation to raise awareness and benefit families in the Belding community touched by cancer continued on Tuesday night.
Redskins Arena was the host to a volleyball match between Belding and Sparta with both teams dressed in pink jerseys. The evening was dedicated to cancer survivors and those battling or lost to the disease.
Following pregame ceremonies the Redskins focused in on the Spartans and were able to sweep their O-K Blue rivals 25-14, 25-13, 26-24.
“It was just exciting. Sometimes you worry about other things going on,” Belding coach Mikayla Linebaugh said. “I told them to drive up the excitement when they got out there. We had a great student section and that enthusiasm just feeds them.”
Belding cruised through game one as the Spartans could only get within three points at 9-6. They closed out the game with a 16-8 run.
Game two was even early on with both teams tied 8-8. A kill by Rachel Hunt started a 5-0 run by the Redskins to open up a 13-8 lead. Belding ended the game with a 12-5 advantage.
“Tonight, we just couldn’t finish it,” Sparta coach Tina Hill said. “We got our passes tonight, but we just couldn’t finish it with a hit. It was kind of a long night.”
The third game provided the toughest battle for the Redskins. With the game tied 9-9 the Spartans opened up a slim 12-9 advantage.
Belding responded with a 7-0 run with some key plays along the front line by Gabby Holyfield to lead 16-12.
“Gabby has been huge in the front row for us,” Linebaugh said. “She gets the timely hit, blocks and she has a great serve. She is playing out of her mind for a sophomore.”
Sparta fought back to tie the score at 20 only to find themselves down to their final chance a short while later 24-20. In between a couple of Belding timeouts the Spartans rallied to tie the score at 24.
“They made a great comeback,” Hill said. “I’m very happy with that. I’m just not sure where we need to go. We have to get our whole game together so we can finish stronger.”
Belding won the next two points and the match on a kill by Rachel Hunt and a block by Holyfield.
“Game three was intense. I was glad we got it done in three,” Linebaugh said. “There was a lot of good volley’s, a lot toward the end.”
Kyleigh Linebaugh led the Redskins with 22 assists, 15 digs and two aces. Mindy Reminga added eight kills, Gabby Holyfield seven kills and Rachel Hunt six kills. Stefanie Harig had 15 digs and Hunt had 13 digs.
Brooke Beuschel led the Spartans with seven assists while Mikayla Cnossen had five kills.
Belding improved to 13-12 overall and 2-1 in the league.
“Overall, it was an emotional night with me just losing my dad,” Linebaugh said. “I know he’s looking down right now and sees what’s happening. I told the kids if you get nothing more out of the season learn that life is more than a volleyball game.”
The biggest event of the week is Belding’s “Day to Believe” on Friday. The Redskins will host Sparta on the football field and host a glow 5k following the game.