BAKER — An upset-minded Baker School volleyball team got off to a quick start against Pensacola Catholic on Monday. But the Class 1A Gators didn’t have enough to hold off the Class 4A Crusaders as Catholic rolled to a 3-0 win by scores of 25-20, 25-21, 25-17.
“I was proud of the way the girls came out and played,” Gator coach Tomikko Parks said. “Catholic has a very good team. They do all the little things in volleyball.
“They have good hitters, they have good passers, they have good setters, so they do all the small things. Us just coming out and playing them tough and doing the small things we need to work on is very beneficial to our team.”
The early part of the first set was all Baker as the Gators methodically built a 12-2 lead. Hana Wadsworth had a block for a score and Lena Daoud and Hartley Moate had kills in the opening run as the home fans started to anticipate an upset.
The Crusaders went to work scoring a couple of quick points before Baker’s Jordan Linzy sent home a kill to push the Gator lead to 13-4.
Catholic (6-0) then shook off the early rust and exploded outscoring the Gators 21-7 down the stretch. Sina Paulk inflicted much of the damage on the Gators (3-2) as she had four kills and a block during the Catholic run.
The Crusaders jumped to a quick 41 lead in the second set before a Wadsworth kill cut the lead in half. Linzy and Wadsworth teamed up to block a Crusader kill attempt to pull the Gators to within a point.
Back-to-back aces by Wadsworth put Baker in front 8-7. The Crusaders tied the score with a quick point, but then Ashley Black scored two quick points for the Gators to make the score 10-8,
Six straight Catholic points put the Crusaders up 14-10. Baker did tie the set at 18-18 before Catholic pulled away to take the set.
The Crusaders jumped to a 9-1 lead in the third set and never looked back as they pulled away for the win.
Parks found plenty of positives in the loss on the defensive side of the ball.
“Our defensive intensity stepped up,” she said. “There were a lot of balls that probably would have been down on a normal night. But we were scrappy tonight and defensively we got after it so I’m very proud of that.”
Linzy led the Gators with seven kills. Wadsworth added five kills. Lena Daoud had 13 assists and 10 digs.
Alex Roy had 11 digs and Wadsworth had seven digs.
Baker won the junior varsity match 2-1.
Randy Dickson is the Crestview News Bulletin’s sports editor. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, tweet him @BigRandle, or call 682-6524.