There’s an old cliché in sports that the records can be thrown out when it comes to a rivalry match.
On Tuesday night at Wildcat Gym, that adage held true to form as Temple put up a fight all night long against the District 12-6A co-leader Belton Lady Tigers, who eventually won the match 16-25, 25-12, 25-23, 17-25, 15-6.
After splitting the first four sets, the finale figured to be a tight battle and started out as such, with Belton (16-13, 4-0) getting out to a 3-0 lead off a kill by Emily Revis, a block by MyKaela Johnston and a net violation by Temple. But the Tem-Cats (10-19, 1-3) came right back to tie it on a Lady Tigers service error and back-to-back kills by Lyric Biggiers, who finished the night with 14.
Revis and Biggiers exchanged kills to tie the set at 4, but then it was all Belton. The Lady Tigers won the next five points — highlighted by two kills by Makaelyn Perez, who finished with 10. The teams then exchanged service errors to make it 10-5, and a hitting error by Belton made it 10-6. The Lady Tigers closed out the match with a five-point run with a kill by Revis, who totaled 11, an ace by Perez and two kills by Carson Thiebaud to improve their record to 2-0 in five-set matches this season.
The win kept Belton tied with Bryan atop the district standings, a match in front of Copperas Cove and Killeen Ellison.
From the onset, the Lady Tigers and the Tem-Cats knew they were in for a battle in a match that featured several long rallies, some spectacular defensive saves, solid blocking and powerful hitting combined with quite a few well-placed softer attacks.
The opening set was tied 11 times, the last being at 14-all before Temple surged ahead with a three-point run to lead 17-14 and followed with a six-point run, with Biggiers getting the final two kills of the set to give Temple the early lead in the match.
Belton answered in the second set, leading 9-1 after the first 10 points, and 15-3 a few moments later, with the help of two aces by Paige Champlin.
The Lady Tigers had little trouble closing the set and looked to be ready to roll to victory after grabbing a 9-1 lead again in the third and a 13-5 advantage a few minutes later. But the Tem-Cats showed they weren’t quite finished, using their defense to save some long rallies and getting kills by Allison Vaden and blocks from Ali Mack to rally and tie the set at 18. After the teams exchanged points, Temple took the lead on a Belton hitting error and expanded it to 21-19 and 22-20 with kills by Biggiers. Belton again took charge, getting two kills by Revis and two by Perez, along with a hitting error by Temple, to win the set.
The rally seemed to spark Temple and, after an early exchange of points in the fourth set, the Tem-Cats went on an eight-point run to secure the lead and force the final set.