BAKER — A slow start for the Baker School volleyball team didn't spell disaster Thursday night as the Gators hosted District 3-1A rival Freeport.
Trailing 15-11 midway through the first set, the Gators turned up the intensity and took the win 3-0 by scores of 25-20, 25-13, 25-14.
The Bulldogs (5-2, 1-1) took advantage of big hitting from Mary Kate Myrick and Amanda Sefo to jump to the quick start, but Baker was able to make the necessary adjustments to offset the Freeport power.
"We came out kind of slow, but we stepped it up when we had to step it up and do the little things we need to do," Gator coach Tommiko Parks said. "Overall it was a pretty good performance.
"We have to get the balls we know we can get and when we get a ball we have to be able to transition and run good offense. That's what we did tonight -- we were able to use those digs and use those balls we could get to and transition to our offense and make good things happen for our team."
Parks admitted that the Gators might have been a little rattled by the power of Myrick, who finished the night with a match-high 11 kills. Four of Myrick's kills came as the Bulldogs built the early lead.
But as 10-time defending district champions the Gators (5-2, 4-0) are use to overcoming a little adversity as they outscored Freeport 14-5 down the stretch to take the first set.
Unforced Bulldog errors helped the Gator cause, but the Baker players had something to do with the rally as well.
An ace by Hartley Moate gave the Gators the lead at 18-17. And it was an Alex Roy ace that finished off the set.
The Gators took a quick 4-0 lead in the second set and never looked back. Ashley Black had three of her team-high six kills to spark Baker's outburst.
Freeportkept things close for a while in the third set as the teams traded points, but the Bulldogs could never wrestle the lead from the Gators.
A Myrick kill tied the set at 9-9, but six unanswered Baker points pushed the Gator lead to 15-9 as the Bulldogs never got closer than five points the rest of the way.
Hana Wadsworth recorded five kills to join Black's six kills. Lena Daoud had nine assists. Roy had a team best eight digs.
Jordan Linzy and Brittany Brunson had five digs each, while Moate and Daoud had four digs each.
Myrick had 10 aces to go along with her 11 kills for Freeport. Laura Ham had 11 aces for the Bulldogs and Kennedi Bates had 11 digs.
Baker won the junior varsity match 2-0.
Randy Dickson is the Crestview News Bulletin’s sports editor. Email him at email@example.com, tweet him @BigRandle, or call 682-6524.