MIDDLEBURG – Middleburg High volleyball got a jolt in the arm and a test of high magnitude in their season opener with a pseudo-come from behind 3-2 win over Bartram Trail in the first of five games set to tetst the mettle of the new season.
“It’s going to be like this every game,” said Middleburg High coach Carrie Prewitt. “We have to learn to win these types of games. They came back strong in a dogfight of a game.”
In the first two games of the thriller, Middleburg dominated behind a 13 kill performance from junior Jenna Sypniewski at the net and 6’-2” presence of junior Skylar Baltezegar as a blocker.
With wins of 25-21 and 25-23 in the first two games, Middleburg looked to be rolling into one of their more impressive season openers against Bartram Trail, last year’s district 4-8A champion and a region semfinalist where they lost to Fleming Island High. Bartram Trail is now in district 1-7A with Middleburg now in district 3-5A after winning district 3-7A last year and losing a 3-2 region opener to Ocala Forest.
Bartram Trail would rebound with their own dominating two-game surge with wins of 25-17 and 25-16 to extend the match to the fifth set conclusion.
“I think our blockers were not getting set and we made some errors with our blocking,” said Prewitt. “Once that set is made for the hitter, the blockers have to be set to create the block. We were a little off in being up with their hitters to have a chance.”
In the final game, both teams were locked to a 9-8 Middleburg lead until senior Mone Gordon served up two scoring starts and Sypniewski put down a thunderous shot to push the score to 14-9. Gordon got one final serve that Bartram Trail netted to end the game.
Statistics had senior Kayleigh Smith with 11 scoring shots and senior Britany Range adding 10. Defensively, Laney Miller had 21 digs, Sypniewski had 17 and Mikayla Simmons retrieving 14.
Middleburg second game, against 9A-Spruce Creek, saw the Lady Broncos win game one, but fall 3-1 in the end. Middleburg was led by 14 kills from Sypniewski and three blocks from Britany Range.
In other openers, Ridgeview lost 3-1 to Mandarin with Shaniece Steer getting 14 scoring shots as the Panthers lone double figures scorer. Blocker Devinn Nickson had three blocks. The Panthers won a 3-0 match against St.Augustine in game two. Steer has 25 kills to lead the Lady Panthers with Elaina Reynolds at 13 kills.
Oakleaf, led by 12 kills from Bryanna Parrett beat Baker County 3-0 in their opener. The Lady Knights won game two against St. Johns Country Day School 3-0. Parrett has 15 kills in two games with Jalana Hope and Jill Johnson both adding eight.
Orange Park beat St. Augustine 3-0 with Lauren Ellis nailing eight kills. The Lady Raiders fell 3-2 to Bishop Snyder in game two. Roxy Palii leads the Raiders with 25 kills with Ellis at 23 for the first two games.
St. Johns Country Day School beat Warner Christian 3-0 in their opener with the loss to Oakleaf in game two.
In Fleming Island’s opener, a 3-0 whitewash of Pedro Menendez High School, the Golden Eagles were led by a rounded attack of eight kills apiece from Jazmine Robinson, Maya Walker and Emma Richard.
Game scores were 25-8, 25-13 and 25-12.
Keystone Heights won their season opener with a 3-0 win over Bradford County. For the Indians, Emily Loose had 10 aces, 10 assists, nine kills and one block with Madison Heskett scoring six times. Kloey Pressley had three kills and two blocks.
Clay High opens their season Tues., Aug. 27 against Terry Parker.