FORT WALTON BEACH—It has been a roller coaster season for the Crestview volleyball team this year.
One match the Bulldogs are flying high and playing like capable of making a run at the playoffs. The next match the Bulldogs struggle to find their rhythm and find themselves barreling to the bottom of the track at breakneck speed.
Crestview coach Kathy Combest was clearly perplexed by her team’s play Tuesday after a four-set District 2-6A loss to Choctawhatchee by the scores of 25-19, 21-25, 25-14, 25-18.
“What happened is we didn’t play and you have to play every ball and every point,” she said. “We’ve got girls that aren’t mentally tough enough. They are handling it bad or handling it good.
“You have to stay consistent and I thought Choctaw did a very good job of doing that tonight.”
From the outset of the match it was clear the Indians (4-6, 2-4) were determined to defend their home floor and be the more consistent team.
A Taylor Brown kill on the first point of the match set the tone for things to come as Choctaw pounded the nets and battled for every loose ball in a match that was tight throughout the night.
Midway through the first set Crestview led 15-10, but the Indian battled back and pulled to within a point at 19-18 on an unforced error by the Bulldogs.
With Ashley Quackenbush in serve the Indians then reeled off seven straight points to take the set.
Crestview (7-6, 2-3) pulled even in the match with a strong second set as Jasmine Middleton and Molly Kitchen led the charge. Middleton had four kills in the set and Kitchen controlled things from the service line to lead the Bulldog charge.
But the night was Choctaw’s as Kayce Johnson, Kiera Alexander and Alyssa Labare joined Brown in attacking the Bulldog defense thanks in large part to Shannon McDonald’s 30 assists.
When Quackenbush wasn’t delivering big points in serve she was hitting the floor for a game-high 20 digs.
Choctaw took an early 5-1 lead in the third set and was never trailed in the set.
It was more of the same in the fourth set as the Indians jumped in front 7-0 and never trailed in the set.
Choctaw coach Nicole Adarme had her own feelings of highs and lows in the match as the Indians avenged a loss to Crestview last month.
“It was bittersweet,” she said. “We wanted this game because the anticipation was Crestview would be our biggest competitor. For us to come back and take that win boosted our spirits and our confidence in what we can do.
“In reality we’ve been up and down when we haven’t played as a team, but tonight we came out knowing we had to play aggressive from the beginning to the end and we had to play together.”
Crestview plays host to Fort Walton Beach on Tuesday and will host a special “Dig it for Pink Night” in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
All survivors of breast cancer will be admitted free and recognized before the start of the varsity match. All fans are encouraged to wear pink in support of Breast Cancer Awareness.