BAKER – It was as easy as one, two, three for the Baker volleyball team Thursday night as the Gators played host to Freeport. Baker swept the match in straights sets winning set one 25-14, set two 25-13 and set three 25-6.
The Gators (16-2) dominated the match from start to finish never trailing the Bulldogs (7-11) by more than a point. And, the latest Baker trailed in any set was 4-3 in the second set.
Gator coach James Kerrell was pleased with Baker’s workmanlike performance against a young Freeport squad.
“We played solid,” he said. “We’ve had a really good week. We played Tuesday night and had a very solid, fundamentally sound game, from start to finish against Central.
“And then we came out tonight and executed and played hard and we are doing what we need to do.”
Baker and Freeport briefly traded the first four points in the first set, as the score was tied 2-2. With Alex Roy in serve the Gators scored six unanswered points to take control of the set.
Not that the Gators needed any help, but the Bulldogs were their own worst enemies in the Baker run as they gave up five points on double hits or net violations.
Roy capped the run with an ace, but then gave Freeport a point and the ball with a service error. A kill by Chloe Abney for Freeport cut the Gator lead to 8-4, but that would be as close as the Bulldogs would get in the set.
Katie Wickery was in serve in the second set as Baker broke a 4-4 tie with a six-point run that basically put the set out of reach.
An already thin Freeport team suffered another big blow with Baker leading 8-4 when Abney injured her left knee as she landed awkwardly after an attempted kill.
After Abney’s injury injury-riddled Bulldogs seem to have their spirit broken as they limped to the finish of the set and the match.
Savannah Risen was in serve in set three as the Gators jumped to a 5-0 lead and never looked back. A Risen service error gave the Bulldogs their first point of the set. Haley Wagner then matched Risen’s efforts as Baker scored five-straight points with Wagner in serve.
Without Abney’s power as hitter Freeport had no match at the net for the likes of Wickery, Risen and Hanah Wadsworth.
Wickery led all players with 10 kills, Wadsworth had five and Risen four. Risen also dished out a team best 12 assists for the Gators and Wickery added five assists.
Wickery also had match-high six aces. Wagner and Alex Roy each had three aces for the Gators. Wagner topped Baker with nine digs.
Despite leaving halfway through the second set Abney still tied for lead in kills for Freeport with three. Ashlyn Davis also had three kills. Kennedi Barnes and Charity Head had two kills each for Freeport.
Bulldog coach Tina Knight could only shake her head as she talked about the injury bug that hit her team again Thursday.
“We are such a young team and, not to make any excuses, we have just had injury after injury and we had another one here tonight,” she said. “When lose one (player) we try to fix it and learn a new rotation. We had just learned a new rotation for this game and then that happened.
“We are just trying to remain competitive and that is difficult to do. As a coach you have years like this and seasons like this and it happens in every sport.”