Destin Marlins fall to visiting Bulldogs

Tina Harbuck

Call it nerves or first game jitters, either way the Destin Marlin girls volleyball team lost their season opener 2-0 to the visiting Freeport Bulldogs in middle school action Monday afternoon.

“I saw a lot of nerves,” said Destin assistant Coach Dani Karvonen.

“These girls practice well,” but during Monday’s game, he said nerves got the best of them.

However, he said, “this was their first game … and we saw a lot of potential. We realize they are going to make mistakes, we’re just glad they are making them now … that gives us time to fix them before the next game."

“I thought we served well, we just had a lot of communication issues,” added Destin Head Coach Susie Pierce.

The first game was nip-and-tuck during the first few minutes, with each team missing on digs and missing serves.

With the game deadlocked at 6-6, Freeport got the advantage on serves from Savana McCormick for an 8-6 game. Destin’s Lauren Rice broke the serve with a hit to give Destin the ball. The Marlins' Jessica Pierce stepped up and served up six consecutive points for a 13-8 lead.

Freeport finally got the ball back and Aubriyah Smith put up three points for the Dogs, including one on an ace and another when Destin had a miscommunication on the floor.

Down the stretch, Destin made one last run on serves from Rice for a 20-13 game.

Freeport broke the serve and put up three points of its own. The Marlins picked up one last point on a net serve from the Bulldogs. However, Destin had a mix up as to whose turn it was to serve and ran out of time, giving the ball back to Freeport.

The Bulldogs finished off the game with seven straight points for a 25-21 victory.

In round two, the game again was close with neither team making more than a four-point run at anytime.

Destin took the early lead, 5-3, on serves from Rice and Kyla Buehner. The serve went back and forth and Freeport led 8-6. At that point, Freeport put up four straight on the serve from Smith for a 12-6 game.

Destin got back in the game with Blakely York at the service line. York served up four straight for a 12-11 game.

The Marlins finally took the lead 16-15 with Buehner at the line. Freeport picked up one point, and then Destin added two more points, one on a hit from Ava Smith.

The scoring went back-and-forth and came down to a 23-23 tie. With the Marlins at the service line, they hit one out on a volley giving the advantage to the Bulldogs. Freeport’s Alexis Newsome served up the winning point, 25-23.

Up next for the Marlins is a 5:30 p.m. Sept. 3 match at home against Meigs.