BAKER – There was plenty to celebrate for Baker volleyball players Haley Wagner, Katie Wickery, Kaitlyn Rickmon and Falin Lawson as they celebrated Senior Night on Tuesday as the Gators hosted Rocky Bayou Christian.
Surrounded by their family, friends and teammates, the seniors were honored prior to taking the floor for their final regular season match. And, has been the case more often than not in their careers the Gators went on to beat the Knights 3-0 by scores of 25-17, 25-19, 25-13.
Baker coach James Kerrell was relieved to see the curtain call for the seniors go off without a hitch.
“You always kind of worry with Senior Night and all the distractions about how they are going to come out and play,” he said. “But the girls came out and played solid and did what they had to do and it was a good solid win.”
Wagner and Wickery led the Baker attack against a stubborn Rocky Bayou squad.
Wickery had a team-best seven kills and nine digs to go along with seven assists and a pair of aces. Wagner had three kills, five digs, three aces and a block.
The seniors weren’t the only ones turning in a big night for Baker as the Gators closed out the regular season with a 20-2 record.
Jordan Linzy had six kills, three digs and an assist, Savannah Risen had three kills, three digs, six assists and an ace. Hanah Wadsworth had two kills, two digs and four aces. Alex Roy pitched in five digs and two aces.
The first set was close until the midway point. Rachel Mosley helped keep the Knights close with several kills from different points of the court.
The set was tied at 13-13 when a Knight service error put Baker in front and sparked a 12-4 Gator run to close out the set.
Baker jumped to a quick 6-1 lead in the second set and led 14-7 before the Knights mounted a rally and pulled even at 19-19.
A kill by Wagner put Baker in front 20-19 and gave the Gators the serve. With Linzy in serve, Baker scored five straight points to close out the set.
The third set was all Baker as the Gators roared to a 9-2 lead and never trailed.
Rocky Bayou tried to mount a rally behind Mosley and cut the Gator lead to 9-6 but that was as close as the Knights got as Baker steadily pulled away for the win.
Kerrell praised Mosley for a top effort in keeping the Knights in the match and said seeing a player of her caliber should help the Gators as they prepare for what they hope will be another run through the state tournament.
“Rachel could play for any school easily all the way up to 8A because she’s a top notch player,” he said. “It’s good when we see players like that because it gives us a challenge and she is one of those players that can hit the ball from anywhere on the floor and she’s solid. She’s fundamentally sound and we had to try our best to get her out of her routine and try to keep her off balance.”
The Gators return to play Tuesday in the semifinals of the District 1-1A tournament at Central at 6 p.m. as they go for their 10th consecutive district title. Baker will face the winner of Monday’s match between Laurel Hill and Central.