CRESTVIEW — Tuesday was a Senior Night worth celebrating for the Crestview High School volleyball team as the Bulldogs hosted West Florida High.
The senior quintet of Brittany Pase, Kristen Bufkin, Jasmine Middleton, Recie Brown and Molly Woodward took their bows before doing battle with the Jaguars. They then led the team to a 3-0 win over the visitors from Pensacola by scores of 25-15, 26-24, 27-25.
As has been the case most of the year Middleton and Pase did most of the heavy hitting and Bufkin, Brown and Woodward did the other little things that win matches.
Middleton led the Crestview attack with 15 kills and nine blocks. Pase also hit double figures in kills with 10 to go along with four blocks, three aces and two digs.
Woodward had 14 digs and an ace. Bufkin pitched in nine digs and Brown had seven digs.
And while the seniors led the way they had plenty of help from their younger teammates.
Molly Kitchen had 17 assists, three blocks, an ace and a kill. Cailey Ness had seven kills, eight blocks and two aces. Macie Adams had 16 assists to go along with two aces.
The Bulldogs looked ragged at times, but Coach Kathy Combest took the let downs in stride and looked on the positives that go with a win.
"Volleyball is a game of momentum and you have to focus," she said. "You are dealing with 15, 16 and 17 year old girls and in my case, 14 because I have three freshmen. Trying to get everybody on the same page isn't always easy.
"But the kids didnn't give up and kept fighting. That's what we've been missing, 'I'm not giving up. I'm hanging on,' and we've been missing that and we had it tonight.
Crestview (18-5) made things look easy in the first set.
Pase started in serve for the Bulldogs as they scored three quick points to start the night. Pase was serving when Ness delivered the first point of the match with one of her seven kills.
The Jaguars responded to Crestview's open salvo with a pair of points to pull to within one of the Bulldogs, but that was a close as West Florida would get in the first set.
Crestview continued to build the lead slowly but surely with the biggest lead coming at 20-9 after a Middleton kill.
The final two sets were somewhat more tense as the Jaguars refused to go down without a fight.
The second set started out almost exactly like the first set as the Bulldogs scored three quick points. But West Florida wasn't going away as the Jaguars came back and tied the set at 5-5.
Every time the Bulldogs tried to pull away the Jaguars came clawing back into the set.
Crestview led 24-22 after a Kierra Potts kill and needed just one point to take the set, but West Florida scored twice to tie the set forcing the teams to play until one of them took a two point lead.
An unforced Jaguar error put Crestview up 25-24 and Pase sent home a kill to finish off the set.
Things didn't look good for the Bulldogs early in the third set as West Florida raced to a quick lead.
The Jaguars led 10-5 and 15-10 as Crestview struggled to keep pace in the set.
Back-to-back kills by Middleton seemed to awaken the Bulldogs from their slumber and sent them on a 17-10 run to close out the match.
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Randy Dickson is the Crestview News Bulletin’s sports editor. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, tweet him @BigRandle, or call 682-6524.