CRESTVIEW — A red hot Crestview High School volleyball team continued an impressive early season run Thursday night with a four set win over District 1-7A foe Fort Walton Beach.
The Bulldogs won by scores of 25-19, 25-17, 22-25, 25-23.
Crestview coach Kathy Combest was quick to credit a tough Viking opponent.
"They (the Vikings) did a good job coming back," she said. "Fort Walton is a good team. It just took them a little while to get rolling and get their things going.”
Crestview is off to its quickest start in recent memory and improved to 6-0 overall and 2-0 in district play in the young season.
The Bulldogs took a quick 4-0 lead in the opening set behind the serving of Macie Adams and led the set from start to finish.
Fort Walton Beach(1-3, 0-1) then ran off three quick points capped by a kill from freshman Zadie Engelberger.
A Viking net violation stopped the run and gave a point to the Bulldogs. Jasmine Middleton then nailed home consecutive kills to push the Crestview lead to 7-3.
Fort Walton Beachnever got closer than three points the rest of the set. A six-point Bulldog run midway through the set pushed the Crestview lead to 16-8 on the way to the first set win.
Bulldog freshman Kierra Potts had two kills during the run and fellow freshman Marisa Rogers also had a kill.
Senior Brittany Pase took over for the Bulldogs in the second set slamming home four kills to go along with a block as Crestview won the second set. Pase finished the night with 16 kills as she continues her impressive final campaign.
But a young Viking team with four freshmen on the roster wouldn't go away. Fort Walton Beach fought back behind the play of Engelberger and her classmate Madison Friedman with seniors Alexandra Goebel and Caroline Lathi also coming up strong as the set swung back and forth.
Neither team led in the set by more than two points until the Vikings scored the set-clinching point to win 25-22. There were 10 ties in the set and nine lead changes before Fort Walton Beach finally pulled it out.
The fourth set was more of the same as neither team was willing to give ground. For every big hit by the Bulldogs the Vikings had an answer. And for every Fort Walton Beach rally Crestview had a rally of its own.
The Vikings led 7-3 early in the set, but the Bulldogs came back to take the lead at 13-12. Crestview's biggest lead of the set was three points, but in the end a team only has to win by two points.
Middleton and Pase powered the Bulldogs down the stretch as Crestview came away with the hard fought win.
Middleton joined Pase in double figure kills with 12. Molly Kitchen and Macie Adams each had 14 assist for Crestview.
Combest said she would like to see the Bulldog players have a change of pace at times when hitting the ball.
"We just have to realize we have to finesse some stuff too," she said. "Power is good, but you have to finesse and keep people on their toes. You have to mix it up and keep them off balance."
Engleberger had 13 kills for the Vikings. Friedman added 11 kills and Goebel and Lathi had five kills each.
Maya Smith had 38 assists for Fort Walton Beach.
Randy Dickson is the Crestview News Bulletin’s sports editor. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, tweet him @BigRandle, or call 682-6524.