Belding takes third straight district title

By Chip Burch • Last Updated 1:30 pm on Friday, November 08, 2013

The Belding Redskins won its sixth district title in the past seven seasons on Thursday night at Alma.

ALMA — Belding’s volleyball team did it again – just like they have two times before.

The Redskins won a Class B district volleyball tournament, knocking off Central Montcalm in straight games 25-23, 25-7, 25-13 in Alma Thursday night.

It was Belding’s third straight title and sixth win of the last seven tournaments.

“I think every one (title) is different and special because there’s different kids involved,” Belding coach Mikayla Linebaugh said. “I never want it to become a habit for kids. They need to realize how important it is to win districts. Some kids never experience that.”

The first game didn’t come easy for either the Redskins or Green Hornets. Central jumped out to a 10-5 run early in the first game.

“We didn’t serve receive well,” Linebaugh said. “The good thing is we did a lot of bad things and were still able to pull that one out.”

Central coach Haley Dawe liked what she saw in that first game.

“We wanted it more in that first game,” she said. “I’d say we played the best we had all season.”

But the second game was all Belding. The Redskins served multiple aces and had no trouble winning the second game.

“After giving it our all and then some, not getting the ‘W’ deflated us,” Dawe said. “They (Belding) served amazing that game. I think serve receive depends a lot on emotions and when you see that ball coming to you, that’s when nerves took over and got the best of us.”

“We talked a lot about serve receive and serving in spots,” Linebaugh said. “I thought we missed too many spots in that last game.”

The last game saw Belding with a 9-3 run to start the game and an 8-4 run to close it.

“In the last game, I got a little off,” Liunebaugh admitted. “I was trying to get some kids in there to get the experience and that’s why I don’t sub a lot, because we get out of that normal thing in our lineup.”

The Redskins, who needed only 55 minutes to dispatch the Hornets, got 20 kills and three blocks from Gabby Holyfield. Hannah Linebaugh and Rachel Hunt had 14 digs each and Brooke Linebaugh added four aces and 31 assists.

Central was led by Savannah Case with four kills, five blocks and three aces. Hailey Hollenbeck dished out eight assists and seven digs.

“I will say that I’m really happy to be here (Thursday night),” Dawe said. “For our fans that have watched us have so many ups and downs. It was a rough season, but to get here to be in the district finals and especially the way we played in game one, I think it made me very happy.”

Belding, meanwhile, will go to Pinconning for regionals against Saginaw Swan Valley in the second game on Tuesday. The Vikings needed five games to beat Freeland and win the Carrollton district Thursday.

“We’re celebrating this weekend,” Linebaugh said. “We’ll worry about that on Monday. That’s the joy and fun of volleyball. It’s a drive, but we’re going to enjoy it.”

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