ALLENTOWN — A decade of dominance continued for the Baker volleyball team Thursday night as the Gators won their 10th straight district title with a sweeping Jay in three sets to win the District 1-1A championship by scores of 25-18, 25-21, 25-15.
The Gators (22-2) will host the District 2-1A runner-up South Walton in the regional semifinals on Nov. 6 at 2 p.m.
Baker coach Tomikko Parks said the 10 straight championships is a big deal.
“Ten straight that just proves each year with the Baker volleyball program the girls come out and work hard,” she said. “We don’t necessarily always talk about a lot of numbers, but 10 is a big number. That means that for 10 years these girls have come out and worked their hardest and played hard every year.
“The girl recognize it and the girls want to see their names on the banners and have the Baker dominance in the district. It’s important to the girls so it’s important to the Baker community.”
Katie Wickery led the Baker attack with 10 kills, seven digs, five assists and four aces. But Wickery wasn’t the only Gator weapon.
Haley Wagner led Baker with 13 digs and six aces. She also had two kills and a block. Savannah Risen had 11 assists, five digs and four kills.
Alex Roy had 10 digs and two aces and Jordan Linzy had seven digs and five kills.
Much like a couple of boxers, the teams jabbed and poked at each other through the early part of the first set.
The Royals (12-8) led 3-0 early and the Gators led 14-11 midway through the set. Jay tied it at 16-16 on an Emily Dodson kill that was followed by an Olivia Wright ace.
But three straight unforced errors put the Gators up 19-16 as they pulled away to take the first set.
Jay started out strong in the second set and led 11-4 when Parks called a timeout to stop the Royal rally.
On cue the Gators went on a 13-3 run to take the lead and control of the match with Wickery leading the charge with four kills.
The final set was anticlimactic as Baker jumped to a 10-2 lead and never trailed.
Wagner and Wickery, the two senior starters in the Baker lineup, were in the second grade the last time the Gators failed to win a district championship and to go out as champions was sweet for the pair.
“It means a lot to keep everything going that has been going since I was in elementary school is just great,” Wickery said. It’s phenomenal. We wanted to go out there and play as hard as we could throughout the whole season and go as far as we can.”
Wagner said the win was especially sweet because it game against the Royals, Baker’s biggest rival.
“It’s always sweeter when we beat Jay,” she said. “We are such big rivals. We are nice to each other off the court, but this game was so intense it was just awesome.
“Jay is always scrappy. They are never going to lie down so we expected a tight match.”