FORT WALTON BEACH — The Fort Walton Beach High School volleyball team avenged a loss to District 1-7A rival Crestview in impressive style Thursday.
Powered by the play of hitters Madison Friedman, Zadie Engleberger and Caroline Lathi the Vikings swept the Bulldogs 3-0 by scores of 25-23, 25-22, 25-21.
Friedman led the Fort Walton Beach attack with 10 kills. Engleberger added nine kills and Lathi had eight kills.
Viking coach Gigi Vardai said attributed the win to the Vikings playing their game.
“We were working on a couple of things before when we played them the first time,” Vardai said. “Our system kind of came in place after the Crestview game so we were kind of expecting to play them better than we did. We just played Viking volleyball.
“The girls just played the way the practice. And they practice very, very hard. We were able to do in the game what we do in practice.”
All three sets were as tight as the scores indicated. When one team seemed to be getting ready to pull away the other team rallied. But throughout the match it was the Vikings (8-7, 3-2) keeping the pedal to the metal constantly pressuring the Bulldogs.
Crestview (11-4, 2-3) took an early 5-3 lead in the first set and it was one of the rare leads the Bulldogs had in the match.
A pair of Bulldog mistakes allowed the Vikings to pull even. An ace by Friedman and kills by Lathi and Alexis Creasman put the Vikings up 8-5.
Fort Walton Beach led 21-14 when a Brittany Pase kill sparked an 8-1 Bulldog run to tie the score at 22-22. The score was tied at 23-23 when Lathi delivered another kill that was followed by Crestview double hit to give the Vikings the set.
With Pase and Jasmine Middleton leading the way the Bulldogs battled throughout the second set and led 20-17. But a net Crestview net serve gave the Vikings a point and the serve as Fort Walton Beach outscored the Bulldogs 8-2 down the stretch to go up 2-0 in the match.
The Vikings took an early 3-0 lead in the third set and never trailed. Crestview did tie the set at 13-13, 14-14 and 15-15, but the Bulldogs were never able to take the lead as the Vikings rolled to the win.
“We played like crap and that’s all I can tell you,” Crestview coach Kathy Combest said. “We didn’t take the angles we needed to on their shots. We didn’t play good.”
While Friedman led the Viking attack with her 10 kills she could have scored without the efforts of setter Maya Smith, who had 32 assists. Engleberger had 16 digs to go along with her nine kills. Lathi had 15 digs and three blocks to go with her eight kills.
Middleton led the Bulldog attack with 11 kills and six blocks. Pase had 10 kills and five blocks. Molly Kitchen had 14 assists
Randy Dickson is the Crestview News Bulletin’s sports editor. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, tweet him @BigRandle, or call 682-6524.