No team wants their season to end in the playoffs until the very end.
It was disappointing ending for the Belton Lady Tigers. But they were not alone in their disappointment.
All three of the remaining District 8-6A teams in the Area Playoff round on Friday found their seasons ended by opponents.
The Lady Tigers fell in three games to Plano West by scores of 25-15, 25-12 and 25-21.
Copperas Cove fell to No. 5 Southlake Carroll 25-21, 25-13 and 25-22 in West. Waco Midway lost to the defending Class 6A State Champion and No. 3 Lewisville Hebron 25-16, 25-12 and 25-12.
Belton’s season ends with a 26-15 mark, with a bi-district championship.
Iman Ndiaye, a 6’2” sophomore middle blocker, made a big impact throughout the match for the Lady Wolves. She had a hand in four of Plano West’s five points, as they jumped out to a four-point lead.
Elicia Jackson’s block and an amazing dig by Madison Ward help cut the early deficit in half, 5-3.
The Lady Wolves deftly moved the ball around and were able to keep the Lady Tigers on their toes for much of the first game. Plano West took the opening game by 10 points.
Belton and Plano West were close in the early stage of the second game, as the frame was tied five times in the first 10 points. Jamie Janczak and Kamryn Madden picked up kills to keep pace with Ndiaye and Megan Valesano’s kills.
With a 10-8 lead, Plano West scored eight straight points. Hanna Griffin’s kill derailed the streak. But the Lady Wolves countered with a six straight points to win the second game by 13 points and take a two games to none lead.
With their season on the brink, Belton took an early 3-2 lead in the third game. Ndiaye and Lauren Blomquist had five kills in a 7-2 run to give Plano West a 9-5 lead.
The Lady Tigers fought back to within a point at 13-12, as Griffin and Madden had attacks. Belton fell victim a litany of double hit calls, which put them in a four-point hole, 16-12. Ward’s service ace interrupted the trend and the Lady Tigers fought back to within two points, 21-19.
Plano West picked up three straight points and went to match point, 24-19. Emily Holder fed Jackson with a beautiful set and the senior middle blocker hammered onto the vacant area of the Lady Wolves court to fend off the first match point. An errant block fended off another match point. But a block fell in front of the Lady Tigers’ side of the net on the final point, ending the game, the match, and most importantly, the season for Belton.
Jackson four kills, four blocks and a dig. Griffin added four kills and a dig. Janczak had 10 digs and two kills. Ward had 12 digs and an ace. Kale Kincannon had seven assists and six digs. Holder had nine digs and three assists.
“It’s definitely not the way we hoped our night would end,” Belton head coach Krystal Brodbeck said. “We knew heading into the match that we would need to bring our best collective effort yet. Unfortunately, aspects of our match fell short. However, this group of seniors planted a seed this year. I believe this seed will grow beautifully in the years to come. We must remember the hard work, sweat, and commitment that got the girls to the Area round of playoffs, and hopefully our younger players will use that as inspiration. I’m so proud of the kids and their season. We are so thankful for all of the love and support the community of Belton showed these young ladies!”
“I am proud of the season that Belton Volleyball put together,” Belton assistant coach Whitney Stout said. “Tonight, was not the outcome that we hoped for but it doesn’t take away from the foundation that was laid for the future. We allowed Plano West to take us out of our game in the first two sets. We did a great job of playing as a team in the third set. We will miss our six seniors, as they will have left big shoes to fill. Our underclassmen are ready to get back to work in off season and have more playoff success.”
Friday night’s game was the final one in the careers of defensive specialist Katie Bain, outside hitter LéDea Harris, outside hitter Jamie Janczak, middle blocker Elicia Jackson, setter Kale Kincannon and defensive specialist Alina Holguin.