CRESTVIEW – Tuesday’s District 2-6A volleyball match between Crestview and Fort Walton Beach turned into a volleyball marathon as the teams played deep into the fifth and deciding set.
In the end it was the host Bulldogs taking the victory 22-25, 25-10, 25-22, 21-25, 18-16 and denying the Vikings (2-14, 0-5) their first district win.
It seemed fitting that on a night when breast cancer survivors were honored that the Bulldogs (9-9, 3-4) were survivors as is Crestview coach Kathy Combest, who is in fact a breast cancer survivor.
Crestview trailed 13-8 in the deciding set but battled back and took the win and that’s the thing that was most pleasing to Combest.
“This is what we’ve been trying to get them to do, to come back when they are down and to come back and play hard,” she said. “I’ve been in so many of these games that I wasn’t worried about what they (the Vikings) were going to do, but if we would be able to handle it.
“This is what needed to do coming back when were down 8-13 and that’s what we’ve been trying to get them to do.”
A scrappy Viking team took a lead at 9-8 in the first set and led the rest of the set to go up 1-0 as Rachael Dehlinger and Jennifer Bazylak pounded the nets for the Vikings.
The momentum seemed to swing in favor of the Bulldogs in the second set as with Kristen Bufkin in serve Crestview ran off 13 unanswered points to push a 6-2 lead to 19-2 before coasting to the win.
The final three sets were battles to the end.
In the third set Fort Walton Beach led 16-13 before a Jasmine Middleton kill shifted the momentum back to Crestview and the Bulldogs went on 12-6 run to close out the set.
Crestview had a chance to put the match away in the fourth set and led 13-12 before the Vikings mounted their own come back to temporarily avoid defeat.
With the match tied 2-2, Caroline Lathi led an early Viking charge that had Fort Walton Beach up 5-0 .
A kill by Brittany Pase was followed by a Molly Kitchen block as Crest pulled to within 5-2.
The Fort Walton Beach lead was 13-8 after a Crestview serving error, but two kills each by Pase and Haleigh Hollinhead swung things back in the favor of the Bulldogs as they dug out of the hole and took the win.
Pase led Crestview with 15 kills. Pase also had 11 blocks Middleton added 14 kills, seven blocks and six digs. And Hollinhead 10 kills and a team best 18 blocks.
Jackie Hanners dished out 17 assists for the Bulldogs and had seven digs and three aces. Bufkin had seven aces and 10 digs. Molly Kitchen filled the stat sheet with 12 assists, four digs, three aces and two kills.
Bazylak had 16 kills for the Vikings and Dehlinger added eight kills.