Destin Marlins drop a close one to Davidson on the court

Tina Harbuck

They may not have won on the scoreboard, but they won over Destin Coach Kersten Bowman with their effort against the Davidson Panthers Wednesday afternoon in middle school volleyball.

“We played the best game that we’ve played all season,” Bowman said.

“I’ve been waiting on this team and they finally showed up ready to play and I couldn’t be more excited, whether we won or lost.”

Destin came up on the short end Wednesday, falling 25-16 and 25-23.

“They played their hearts out,” Bowman said.

“Our serve receive errors really made a difference in the game, but they had really aggressive servers on that team. So kudos to them,” she said.

In game one, the Davidson Panthers took a 5-0 lead on serves from Catira Corthell.

Destin picked up a couple of points here and there, but Davidson’s Georgia Small served up for consecutive points for a 12-5 go ahead.

The most points Destin could string together was three. Late in the game Lilly Wagner knocked in a couple of aces before Destin turned it over on a missed dig.

The serve went back and forth with Small finishing at the line for the Panthers for a 26-16 victory.

In game two, Destin showed up and tied the game early at 6-6 on serves from Bailey Maurer. The Panthers got control of the ball and put up four straight for a 10-6 lead.

Destin, however, answered after Carsyn Tillman tipped one in over her back.

Natalia Matto stepped up to the line and served up six points consecutive points, four for aces and a 14-11 advantage.

Destin bumped it up a bit more with Tillman at the line for three straight and a 20-13 spread.

The Panthers battled back with Corthell serving up nine points to go up 23-20.

Destin picked up two more points before Davidson secured the win on a serve from Madisen Casey.

“Carsyn our setter played the best game ever of her whole life. She did a great job,” Coach Bowman said.

She also commended Maurer and Mattos for their serves in crunch time.

“I’m excited, regardless of the loss,” she said.

Up next for Destin is a 4 p.m. game Monday at Meigs Middle School in Shalimar.