BAKER — It was sweet revenge for the Baker School volleyball team as the Gators hosted Walton County on Tuesday.
Baker traveled to DeFuniak Springs and lost to the Braves in four sets on Sept. 19. The Gators returned the favor by taking Tuesday's match in four sets by scores of 28-26, 25-18, 22-25, 25-17.
"They got us over at their place 3-1," coach James Kerrell said. "It was a good win (for the Gators on Tuesday). Any time you can come out and play as well as we did, that's a good thing.
"Walton is a good program and is one of those bigger schools we try to schedule this year to really challenge our girls. They stepped up and met the challenge. It was a really good win."
When the Braves got off to a quick start in the first set jumping to a 5-0 lead it looked as if it might be a long night for the Gators.
An Ashley Harper kill put Walton up 12-4 and that's when Baker started inching back into the set.
Miranda Whatmough's kill sparked a 7-1 Gator run that closed the Walton lead to 13-11. A big hit by Jordan Linzy, an ace by Lena Daoud and an unforced Walton error allowed Baker to tie the set at 14-14.
The teams would battle point-for-point the rest of the set. It seemed as if every time Baker (13-4) pulled even the Braves would score a couple of points to get some breathing room.
An unforced Brave error gave the Gators their first lead of the set a 24-23. But Walton came right back and scored two quick points to move to within a point of winning the set.
Two quick scores by Hana Wadsworth gave the Gators a 26-25 lead. A few minutes later, a Wadsworth ace ended the set with the Gators winning.
The rest of the match was almost anti-climatic.
Baker took an early 4-0 lead in the second set and never trailed as Hartley Moate was on target with her serves throughout the set.
The Braves continued to pound the ball with big hits by Harper and DeJa Tucker, but the Baker defenders were up to the challenge as they came up with dig-after-dig to turn away the quick-set Walton attack.
Whatmough ended the night with 14 digs. Daoud had 13 digs, Linzy 11 and Alex Roy nine.
The third set started much like the second set with Baker taking a 5-1 lead early in the set, but the Braves didn't go away. Harper, Tucker and Haley Paulk came up big as Walton erased the deficit and went on to take the set.
The fourth set quickly turned in Baker's favor when Ashley Black scored three consecutive points to break a 6-6 tie and give Baker a 9-6 lead. The Gators never trailed again as they finished off he win.
Black, Whatmough and Moate each had six kills to lead a balanced Baker attack. Linzy and Wadsworth also contributed five kills each.
Daoud had 20 assists and two aces to go along with here 13 digs. Moate led Baker with six aces. Roy and Wadsworth each had three aces.
Randy Dickson is the Crestview News Bulletin’s sports editor. Email him at email@example.com, tweet him @BigRandle, or call 682-6524.