HOWARD CITY – Belding’s volleyball team had one lull in its district volleyball match against Sparta Monday night, but one lull only.
The rest was all Redskins, as they beat the Spartans 25-18, 20-25, 25-10, 25-18 in the first round of the Class B district tournament.
Coach Mikayla Linebaugh was excited about how her team played.
“We have battled with Sparta all year,” Linebaugh said. “We beat them in duals and they beat us in (the O-K Blue) conference (tournament). They’re a good team. We came to play.”
The first game was back and forth, as Belding (17-18) jumped out to a lead, only to see Sparta make a run that almost tied the game. Belding got back in rhythm and took the game.
“We came out on fire,” Linebaugh said.
The second game was a different story.
“We gave them (Sparta) too big a of lead to dig out of that hole,” Linebaugh said. “We were down 7-2 and 10-4, and we got back to 19-18 but that’s too much of a hump sometimes mentally to get through.”
That didn’t last long, as the Redskins dominated the third game and put the match away in the fourth.
“When we came back on the floor in game three and had them down 14-4, I knew we were sailing there, but we had to keep that intensity up in game four because they (Sparta) weren’t going to let down.”
Belding got 16 kills from Rachel Hunt, 12 more from Gabby Holyfield and 11 more from Stefanie Harig. Kyleigh Linebaugh had 39 assists, nine digs and four aces and Mindy Reminga added three blocks.
Still Linebaugh gave credit to the Spartans
“Their middle’s good,” Linebaugh said of middle hitter Jill Steenwyk. “I thought they were very scrappy. They’ve seen us. Sometimes when you’ve seen people you know what to expect.”
Next up for Belding is Lakeview in the second game Wednesday.