BELDING — After a slow start, the Belding Redskins volleyball team put on a show worthy of their brand new arena.
With bleachers on three of four sides of the court, daylight coming in from the outside through multiple windows, superior indoor lighting and an indoor track, the new Redskin Arena is among the best in West Michigan.
The Redskins didn’t disappoint the opening crowd with a 25-17, 25-11, 25-14 O-K Blue Conference victory over the Grand Rapids Creston Polar Bears on Tuesday night.
Belding (7-7-4, 1-1) trailed 8-5 before a 14-3 run opened up a 19-11 advantage in game one. The Redskins closed out the game 6-4 to win.
“I thought we started a little slow and that has been our problem,” Belding coach Mikayla Linebaugh said. “I don’t know if it was a lot of the hoopla and the first game, but I didn’t feel the nerves. It was just a slow start.
“Games two and three I thought we were a lot more in control,” she added.
The Redskins started game two with a commanding 7-0 lead and never looked back winning 25-11.
“I thought we served well. We only missed a couple, but we have been trying to spot serve and sometimes that happens,” Linebaugh said. “We learned to come together after that slow start.”
Game three was tight to start.
An 11-7 Redskins lead forced the Polar Bears to call a timeout. That timeout produced a 7-0 run and a 14-11 lead for Creston.
Linebaugh said she wanted her team to play through the Polar Bears run.
“We have to learn to play through that. I can’t call a timeout every time we are down a couple of points,” Linebaugh said. “I see that growth. Sometimes we get to 22 points and we don’t finish. That is a lot of that youth.”
Finishing wasn’t a problem in this game. The Redskins reeled off the final 14 points for a 25-14 win.
“We are young, we are moving along and I see a lot of growth in us,” LInebaugh said. “Overall, it was a great night. We had a good crowd and it was fun in here.”
Brooke Linebaugh led the Redskins with 20 assists and six aces. Rachel Hunt had 10 digs, five kills and two blocks. Stefanie Harig had 13 digs, while Hannah Linebaugh had 11 digs and six kills.
Mallory Robinson had eight digs and five kills for Creston. Erin O’Driscoll added seven digs and four assists, while Tyra Williams had nine kills and five digs.
The Redskins will host six teams for the Redskins Invitational on Saturday. Competing teams include, Creston, Carson City-Crystal, Saranac, Wellspring Academy, Comstock Park and Maple Valley.
Belding will host its annual “Pink Game” against Comstock Park on Tuesday.