BELDING – Right from the first serve, Belding’s volleyball team was having problems trying to focus.
The distraction was a couple of early calls by the officials that ended up benefitting Grand Rapids West Catholic.
“I was totally frustrated,” Belding coach Mikayla Linebaugh said. “I don’t think a varsity official gets to tell a team twice that they’re out of rotation. I was frustrated all night.”
So was Linebaugh’s team in losing to the Falcons 25-14, 21-25, 25-20, 25-13 Tuesday night.
Those early gift rotation checks, which are supposed to be asked for by coaches but wasn’t asked for by West Catholic coach Katie Webber, left Linebaugh unhappy.
“I don’t like to blame officials, but I thought tonight it was really hard to play above that,” she said.
Linebaugh said she tried to block it out.
“They’re the ones that have to make the calls,” she said. “It was very frustrating for all of us.”
Belding came as close as one point before the Falcons went on a 14-4 run that ended the game. But things were different in the second game.
“I think we were down 12-6 and we just started plugging away one point at a time and got the momentum,” Linebaugh said. “I really think if we could have finished game three and gone in 2-1 (in Belding’s favor) we were sitting in a better spot.”
Game three was back and forth, but West Catholic came away with it. At that point the Redskins self-destructed.
“We were kind of deflated after we lost that third game,” Linebaugh said. “I thought in game four every time we got going we would get a call against us.”
West Catholic, which finished third in the O-K Blue Conference with a 4-2 conference record, was led by Kendra Meyers with 13 kills, Brandi Stein with 32 assists and five aces, and Lexi Bowe with seven digs.
“They’re a good team, well-coached,” Linebaugh said of the Falcons.
Belding got three blocks from Gabby Holyfield, eight kills and 11 digs from Stefanie Harig and 15 assists from Kylie Linebaugh.
Originally, Mikayla Linebaugh didn’t want to talk about what she told the team after the game, but ended up doing so.
“There was some lack of discipline things that I seen that isn’t acceptable for us,” she said. “We just talked about what we have to focus on, and me too. I have to get the refs out of my head and play the game. I seen things happen between girls that I don’t call acceptable.”
Belding ends the O-K Blue season 3-3 in the conference, which is fourth behind Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern, Coopersville and West Catholic.
The conference tournament is Belding’s next action. That will be at Cedar Springs Saturday.