SIDELINE OBSERVATIONS: Gators have the stuff of champions

Published: Tuesday, November 13, 2012 at 10:08 PM.

With the season on the line and the hope of another run at the elusive state championship slipping away, the Gators did what they do best: they dug deeper.

Yes, the Tigers hit the ball hard, but the Chipley hits turned to Gator points and when the match ended, Haley Wagner turned in a career-high seven blocks, and her cousin, Alex Roy, hustled up 13 digs.

A team lacking a superstar played with one heartbeat. Hartley Moate, Savannah Risen, Jordan Linzy and, of course, Katie Wickery all stepped up their games as the Gators won the fourth set to tie the match at 2-2.

Then, as Chipley Coach Jerry Corbin said, the championship experience of the Gators took over and they won the fifth set to earn a return trip to Kissimmee.

The Gators play in the state semifinals at 1 p.m. Thursday against Lafayette, the team they lost to in the championship match a year ago.

I don’t know what kind of size or athleticism Lafayette has, or how hard the Hornet players hit the ball. And I don’t know if the Hornets would wow me during warm-ups.

What I do know is, win or lose in the semifinals or the finals, something special about this Baker volleyball team will allow the Gators to give it their all and never give up — no matter how long the odds against them seem.

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