HOWARD CITY – The Belding Redskins won their third district title in four years on Saturday afternoon.
The Redskins defeated Chippewa Hills in four games 25-12, 25-23, 17-25, 25-15 to advance to the regional tournament tomorrow at Central Montcalm High School.
Game one was close early on with the Redskins leading 13-10. Hannah Linebaugh served five consecutive points to open an 18-10 advantage. In all, the Redskins outscored the Warriors 15-2 to close out the game.
Chippewa Hills struggled to string points together in the game.
“And that can be frustrating, especially with your nerves playing a factor,” Belding coach Mikayla Linebaugh said. “They are a good team with a lot of height at the net. When you can’t get on a run it doesn’t help.”
Chippewa Hills settled down in game two and the Redskins made some errors.
The Warriors were down 17-13 before rallying to take the lead at 19-18. After a kill by sophomore Hannah Guy the Warriors led 22-19. Belding battled back to score the next five points to take a 24-22 lead. The teams traded points and the Redskins led 2-0.
“I told them how big it was to get the second game,” Linebaugh said when down late. “Instead of 1-1 it’s 2-0 and that is a huge mental thing if you can do that. I just wanted to go out there and learn how to finish.
“Those are things that mentally you have to work on, but sometimes you can’t really work on it because you don’t have that feeling of a district final,” she added.
Game three was close early 9-9 while neither team led by more than a point during that stretch. Down 10-9, the Warriors outscored the Redskins 13-3 to open up their largest lead of the game at 22-13. Chippewa Hills won its first game 25-17.
Belding would not be denied in game four and wasted no time opening a 7-1 lead. They extended the lead to 18-6 and finished out with a 7-9 run to win the Class B District No. 54 championship.
“We came out swinging in game four,” Linebaugh said. “I knew the intensity was back with us and that is what we needed. To get that big lead was huge.”
Kyleigh Linebaugh led the Redskins with 32 assists and nine digs. Gabby Holyfield and Stefanie Harig each had 11 kills and Hannah Linebaugh had two aces.
The Redskins improved to 19-18 overall and will face Grant in the regional semifinals at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow at Central Montcalm. It will be the first matchup between the two schools this year.
“They beat Fremont and we won and lost against Fremont,” Linebaugh said. “I don’t know a lot about them, but they had a lot of height last year when we played them.”