SEBRING — Avon Park struggled to pull out the win against Moore Haven in Thursday night’s Preseason Classic volleyball tournament at Sebring High.
Avon Park went five sets with Moore Haven before winning by scores of 25-15, 12-25, 25-22, 14-25 and 15-10.
“It should not of been that close,” said Avon Park coach Shane Wirries. “We’ll take the win but I’m not that excited about it. I don’t know if it was just the beginning of the year jitters or what but we are going to figure it out. The problem is our setter Genesis Moro left so I had to bring up someone from junior varsity and someone that hasn’t played in a year. We just have to figure out who is going to fill that spot. We are also still making a lot of mistakes and errors. They played good defense but they’re not hitting the ball hard.”
The first set was tied at 15 before Avon Park middle hitter Otisha Smith found the range with several devastating spikes and numerous ace serves to earn the Red Devils a 25-15 win.
“After the first set I told the girls the intensity wasn’t there,” Wirries said. “You act like you don’t want to play and I’ll pull girls from junior varsity if that’s what it takes.”
Moore Haven came out strong in the second set and rolled to a 25-12 victory over a lifeless Red Devil squad.
The third set was close before Avon Park started to utilize its superior height at the net with Smith and Imani Tate scoring with kill shots. Krystal Rivera ripped off a string of points with her serve to help the Red Devils take a 25-14 win.
Moore Haven dominated the fourth set by taking an early lead and never looking back in a 25-14 victory to set up a final 15-point rally set.
Avon Park came out focused and zoomed to a 5-1 lead behind the strong serving of Tate. Rivera had a nice run serving as well to extend the lead to 14-10.
Avon Park blocked Moore Haven’s spike attempt to win the set and the match.
As the match came to an end, Smith reinjured her knee.
“I’m hoping Otisha is OK,” said Wirries. “She has a bad knee and it keeps popping out. I don’t know how bad she is hurt right now.”
Smith and Tate had a team-high eight kills, Victoria Trejo had 28 assists, two aces and Rivera had an astounding 42 digs.
“I was so excited about getting 42 digs,” said Rivera. “I didn’t think I got that many. When I saw all those tally marks I didn’t think they were just mine, I thought they were the whole team’s combined. I was so surprised and proud of myself. That’s the most I’ve ever gotten in one game.”
Avon Park is back in action with a home match against Hardee on Thursday.