BELDING — At the start of the season, Carson City-Crystal’s volleyball team walked away from The Daily News Invitational with a 2-4 record.
What a difference three weeks makes.
The Eagles went to the Belding Invitational Saturday and beat everyone they faced, including the host Redskins in the final 25-22, 28-26.
“I was very pleased,” CC-Crystal coach Megan Merlo said. “We played very well all day. It was a great turnaround. We had some different players step up and improve.”
The Eagles (12-3-8) lost their first game, and that was to Comstock Park. However that would be the only game they would lose the rest of the day, beating the Panthers 21-25, 25-21, 25-0.
Vermontville Maple Valley went down in straight games 25-20, 25-17, 25-19 to put CC-Crystal into the Gold Bracket.
Belding, meanwhile, split with Wellspring Academy, winning the first game 25-11 but losing the second 25-20. They beat Saranac 25-10, 25-11 and Grand Rapids Creston 25-12, 25-22.
“I thought we played well,” Belding coach Mikayla Linebaugh said. “We got a real good start. They really turned it around. The way we came back and beat Saranac, Creston and Comstock Park was good.”
CC-Crystal beat Wellspring Academy 27-25, 25-18 before meeting Belding in the finals.
“They were a pretty good team,” Merlo said of Wallsprings Academy.
The Redskins had to defeat Comstock Park 25-16, 25-13 to meet CC-Crystal.
The reason the Eagles won was attacking, Merlo said.
“I thought it was a very evenly matched game,” she said. “Both teams played very well I thought. We were able to be aggressive on our attacking and good communication on the court and that made us successful.”
Linebaugh agreed about the Eagles and Redskins being evenly matched.
“They (CC-Crystal) had a little more height than us at the net,” she said. “But when you have games that are within two or three points, if you play it tomorrow the outcome might be different.”
Tori Christensen led CC-Crystal with 43 kills on the day. Tomberlee Smith had a team-high 29 digs, Jaylin Fisher had 69 assists and tied Emily Ward for the ace lead with seven.
Rachel Hunt and Stefanie Harig tied for most kills on Belding’s team with 34 each. Hunt added four blocks. Brooke Linebaugh had 109 assists and eight aces and Hannah Linebaugh led in digs with 71.
“It’s a long day and they (Belding) are young. I see improvement every time we go out,” Mikayla Linebaugh said.
CC-Crystal heads to Portland St. Patrick for a match Thursday while Belding will host Comstock Park in the “Pink Game” Tuesday.