BAKER — A familiar team will be the top seed when the District 1-1A volleyball tournament opens later this month at Northview.
Baker School will be gunning for its 13 th straight district title. The Gators took an important step toward that goal Tuesday in the volleyball version of the War on Highway 4.
Brittany Brunson had nine kills and Taylor Brunson added seven kills and 14 assists as the Gators swept Jay in straight sets by scores of 25-20, 25-13, 25-10.
Baker Coach Tommiko Parks said the victory allowed the Gators to accomplish the first of their many goals for the season.
“It goes back to season goals,” she said. “We try to go undefeated through our district season – that’s always a goal for us. We’ve got one more game left in our district schedule (Thursday against Laurel Hill).
“Our main goal is to get to that district tournament and be playing well. We have a couple of little things we’ve got to fix and we are going to play our way through it.”
The Gators (11-5, 7-0) didn’t play their best volleyball in the first set. It wasn’t that they played poorly, but they didn’t play exceptionally well either and that allowed the Royals to hang around.
Baker led 16-11 when Jay went on a quick 5-0 run to tie the set 16-16. Ayajah Coleman’s block for Baker ended the Royal run and righted the Baker ship. The Gators led the rest of the set although the Royals did cut the lead to a point on a couple of occasions.
A point off the serve of Brittany Brunson ended the seet as Baker went up 1-0 in the match.
The final two sets weren’t nearly as dramatic.
Jay scored the first point of the set and after that Baker took over going on a 4-0 run. The Gators maintained the lead the rest of the set.
Coleman, Emily Stewart, Brittany Brunson and Taylor Brunson led the way as Baker went up 2-0 in the match.
Jay led the third set 4-2. Things quickly got ugly for the Royals as the Gators turned up the pressure. Baker outscored Jay 23-6 the rest of the way turning the set into a laugher.
Lindsey Stewart picked up her only kill of the match during Baker’s big push toward the win.
Jay was still in the set trailing 15-10 after an unforced Gator error. The gift point was the last Jay scored.
A kill by Emily Stewart started Baker’s 10-0 run to close out the set. Whitley Taylor was pure gold in serve as the Gators scored the last nine points of the match.
Taylor had two aces during her serving run. The match ended with back-to-back kills by Coleman and Taylor Brunson.
“We came a little sluggish, but we were able to rebound the second and third game,” Parks said. “We just have to fix the coming out part (in the first set).
“It was a district rival and a district opponent. We just came out a little flat, but we were able to pick it up.”