BELDING — Belding’s volleyball team opened their Class B district volleyball tournament Monday with a win, but coach Mikayla Linebaugh knew it wasn’t going to be easy.
The Redskins knocked off the Lakeview Wildcats in four games, 25-21, 24-26, 25-21, 25-23 to advance in the tournament.
“They (Lakeview) are a very good team, well-coached,” Linebaugh said. “They’re incredible on defense. I knew nothing was going to be easy.
Lakeview coach Tammy Dey said she was “disappointed” in the outcome of the game.
“There isn’t any reason why we shouldn’t beat them (Belding),” Dey said. “We just didn’t play our game.”
Belding (15-16-5) took a 5-5 tie in the first game and went on a 12-1 run to 17-6, making it look like a blowout was about to happen.
But the Wildcats (18-24-4) rebounded to get the score to 24-20 Belding before losing.
“I just thought we came out with big intensity in the first game,” Linebaugh said. “We had the big lead, they (Lakeview) crept back in, but I told my girls the positive was we finished, and that’s what the important thing is.”
Lakeview jumped on the Redskins in the second game, getting out to a 13-7 lead when Belding had to call a timeout.
The Redskins rallied to 17-14, but their big rally was a 7-2 run that got them to within two. They eventually tied but the Wildcats got two straight kills for the win.
“I think they (Lakeview) started to get a little more focused and realized that they had to work to get it,” Dey said. “If they truly wanted it they had to work a lot harder than they did the first game.”
The turning point was the third game. The Redskins went from down 19-13 to the win to go up two games to one.
“I don’t know if wanting it is the thing to say,” Dey said. “You just have to not make so many errors. That’s what hurts us the most, is we make errors and give away points instead of making them earn points.”
The fourth and final game was tied at nine when Belding went on a 10-3 run to 19-12, only to see the Wildcats go on an 8-3 run of their own to get the score to 22-20, but couldn’t get the final points.
Linebaugh said there were a couple of things that led to the win.
“I thought our serve receive was good early on,” she said. “I thought Brooke (Linebaugh) was making good choices with her sets, where to mix it up to go to our hitters and our biggest thing was we needed to keep swinging.”
Belding got 13 kills and five aces from Stefanie Harig. Brooke Linebaugh had 31 assists, Greta Wilker dug up 15 Wildcat attacks and Rachel Hunt and Carrie Smith tied with two blocks each.
Belding will face Shepherd in the second game of the semifinals Wednesday night.
“I don’t know anything about Shepherd,” Mikayla Linebaugh said. “So we’ll have to go and play our game and control what we know how.”
Meanwhile, Lakeview’s season is done.
“It definitely was not what I expected,” Dey said of the season. “I had huge, high expectations with this group of seniors and it just didn’t come through. It’s a pretty big disappointment, especially when they really are good athletes.”