CRESTVIEW — Indications suggest the inaugural Bulldog Bash Summer Classic was a smashing success.
Six varsity high school volleyball teams and three junior varsity teams descended upon Crestview High School and Davidson Middle School gyms for one last warm-up before practice starts Aug. 5.
Florida High School Athletic Association rules prohibit awarding trophies at a tournament this close to the season’s start. But if a championship trophy could have been awarded in the round robin tournament, it would have gone to the host Bulldogs.
Boost for the Bulldogs
Crestview's varsity finished the day with a perfect 5-0 record. Along the way, the Bulldogs beat Mosley (21-25, 25-15, 15-10), Navarre (25-21, 25-20), Choctawhatchee (25-21, 19-25, 15-9), Samson, Ala., (25-7, 25-3) and a team of home school players (25-21, 25-15).
Crestview hitter Brittany Pase believes the tournament sweep will give the Bulldogs a boost to start the season.
"It gives us a sense of confidence," she said. "We played Mosley, which was a great game. We hadn't beaten them in a long time, but we beat them.
"It's just a good start for the season."
Bulldog coach Kathy Combest used the tournament to look at different player combinations.
"We really haven't practiced where everyone is supposed to be," she said. "We spent three days and we went over positioning, because I really didn't know who was going to be here or who was actually going to be playing. I was still looking at some girls on the JV and then I decided to go with the freshmen (Marisa Rogers and Kierra Potts) because I thought they were stronger."
Pase said it was important for the veterans to play with the freshmen in the Bash.
"This just gives us a little time to get used to each other and to get used to the new freshmen," Pase said. "It gives us some time to work together."
Pase is excited about the upcoming season, the third with Combest as the head coach.
"We kind of know her and we know how she does things," she said. We've been working out at 6 o'clock in the morning every day.
"We are disciplined. We are conditioned. Knowing what she expects of us will make us play a lot better."
Combest will use the Bash to jumpstart fall practices.
"It gives me something to work towards where we don't have to wait for the first game or a preseason classic," she said. It gives me an idea on what we need to do better. It gives the coaches an insight on what we need to work on."
First of many
Combest thinks this year's Bulldog Bash will be the first of many for years to come.
"It's going to get bigger because of word of mouth," Combest said. "They (the teams) were glad because of the number of games everybody got to play.
"We might not want it bigger. We might just want it six to eight teams and play more games. Everybody played five games and that's pretty good in a day."
Randy Dickson is the Crestview News Bulletin’s sports editor. Email him at email@example.com, tweet him @BigRandle, or call 682-6524.