Belding volleyball returns experience

By Bruce Bentley • Last Updated 12:58 pm on Thursday, August 20, 2015

Belding’s Johanna McCully taps the ball over the net during the Class B district final tournamet at Central Montcalm last year. – File photo

BELDING — Expectations are high for the Belding Redskins volleyball team.

That happens when you win district championships every year from 2009 to 2013. Last year, a young Redskins team lost in a five set district final thriller to Lakeview.

That team returns intact, as the 2014 Belding volleyball team featured no seniors, hence the expectations.

“We have a lot of leadership,” Belding coach Mikayla Linebaugh said. “Brooke (Linebaugh), Greta (Wilker) and Sam (McNeal) are all four-year varsity players and Johanna (McCully) is in her third year on varsity.”

Belding went 23-14-5 last year and also returns seniors Sarah Brownell and Kim Thomas, junior Olivia Stephan and sophomores Lexi Pilkington and Jessie Wittenbach.

“These girls have played together for a few years now and they know what they each are capable of doing,” Linebaugh said.

Linebaugh did say the team needs to get better defensively and serving. She would also like to see the offense move quicker.

“I feel we will be in the conference race with a strong Coopersville team,” Linebaugh said. “The O-K Blue is a strong volleyball conference, but I feel with our experience we will be at the top.”

Belding is the defending champion of The Daily News Invitational, which the Redskins again host on Saturday.

“We are looking to get back on track with a district title,” Linebaugh said.

Belding will host Saranac on Aug. 26.

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