They were in it, but the Destin Marlins came up short 2-1 to the Baker Gators in middle school volleyball action in Baker Monday night.
“We had such great volleys. I think it just came down to decision making,” said Destin Coach Katie Davies.
The two teams split the first two games, with Baker winning 25-22, then Destin coming out on top in the second, 26-24. In game three, Baker won 15-7.
“We kind of got in our heads a little bit when it came to some of their serves … it was a mental thing,” Davies said.
Plus there was some miscommunication at times among the players.
“When we got down, I think we started getting nervous and that’s when we stopped playing solid and steady, but it happens,” Davies said.
In game one, Destin jumped out to a 6-0 lead off the serves of Amrah DeSimone. Blakely York and Ellaine Wolford helped to hammer a few home for the Marlins. Destin went long on the serve and Baker got the advantage. The serve went back and forth but the Marlins maintained about a two-point lead before Wolford hammered one in to give Destin a 10-6 lead.
Not long after, the Gators came back with Jolee Sloan serving up four straight for a 15-12 lead. Destin got the ball back on a missed serve. DeSimone stepped up again to the service line and knocked in four straight to get the advantage back 17-15.
With the game about to wrap up Destin was on top 22-19 and then lost the serve. Baker took over and Lily Adams put up five consecutive points for the win.
In game two, Destin again took a big lead, this time 12-1, with Kyle Buehner at the service line. Ava Smith had a couple of dinks in the mix for the Marlins. Destin finally lost on a long volley and Baker’s Kailyn Ellis put up four straight to cut the lead in half. Destin picked up a couple of points with Jessica Pierce dinking one in, but Baker came back with another four points for a 14-11 game. The scoring went back and forth until it was tied at 18-18, then again at 20-20. At that point, Destin edged ahead with Buehner at the service line. Pierce also tipped one in for a point and a 24-20 lead. Not done yet, Baker came back with three straight from Ellis to tie the game at 24-24. Ellis finally missed and Destin picked up another point on a hit in the net by Baker. Destin got the win 26-24.
In the final game, Baker got the early lead 6-2 but Destin managed to even the score with Smith at the line for a 6-6 game.
After the ball went side out a couple of time, Baker went on a rally to score six straight with Adams at the line for a 15-7 win.
“It was a good challenge,” Davies said. “Baker is a good team and we knew that coming in.
“But I think we learn more from losing than we do from winning. So we’re going to take what we’ve done here and learn from it,” she added.
Up next for Destin is a 5 p.m. game at home Wednesday, Sept. 12 against the Lewis Falcons.