After a slow start, the Destin Marlins put the Freeport Bulldogs away in two sets in middle school volleyball action Thursday evening in Destin.

“We actually had a slow start, but once we started talking and communicating with each other the game started to change for us,” said Destin Coach Katie Davies.

Midway through the first set, Freeport made a six-point run on the Marlins for the lead. Destin battled back with Amrah DeSimone serving up three straight and then Kyle Buehner finishing it up with four straight for a 25-18 victory.

In the second set, it was neck-and-neck with Freeport up 6-5 just minutes into the match. Seconds later, Freeport had pulled away 16-10.

Destin finally settled down and took an 18-16 lead with Jessica Pierce serving up seven straight.

The serve went side out and then Destin got it back again with Kiersten Martin serving up three points to pull away 22-17. Destin picked up the last few points on missed shots by Freeport and a serve from Buehner.

“Serving is always the key,” Davies said. “We can’t give them free points.”

Earlier in the week, the Marlins defeated Baker in two sets, 25-21, 25-20.

“That was a huge win for us,” Davies said. “It was a fun game … a lot of back and forth. We just happen to come out on top. It was a sweet victory,” she said.

Destin lost to Baker earlier in the season, two sets to one.

On Wednesday, Destin lost to Ruckel on the road in two sets.

“Ruckel is a good team. It was a tough loss but we learned a lot from it,” Davies said.

Up next for the 9-2 Marlins is a 5:30 p.m. game Monday in Fort Walton Beach against St. Mary’s.