By PATRICK CASEY
The Freeport Bulldogs finished the opening week of the 2011 season with a four-set win over the South Walton Seahawks on Sept. 1 as the squad claimed their second road victory of the week.
Freeport captured the opening set with a 25-21 victory as the Bulldogs broke a 15-all tie with several strong serves from junior Brianna Ross as they pulled ahead for an 18-16 lead. Freshman Mary Kate Myrick followed up with four service points as the Bulldogs pushed the lead to 22-16 with Laura Hayhurst providing the final service point to earn the victory.
The Bulldogs got off to an 8-3 start in the second set and never looked back as Hayhurst continued to deliver strong serves with senior Prophecy Spaid playing her best set of the night as she mixed an array of shots for winners at the net. Freeport ran out to a 15-5 advantage and cruised to a 25-11 victory.
The third set crawled to a 17-all tie before Freeport appeared to pull away with kill shots from Ross, Spaid and Myrick for a 21-18 lead. The Seahawks showed resolve as their fans got behind them as the host squad scored seven of the next nine points to eke out a 25-23 decision.
The fourth set saw Freeport pull in front at 11-7 as Spaid and Ross continued to lead the charge. The Bulldogs held a 16-11 lead that became 21-18 before Freeport settled in for a 25-19 decision that ended the first of three battles between the two schools in four sets.
Spaid ended the match with 11 kills and 10 aces while Myrick provided 10 kills and 10 assists. Ross has a solid outing as well as the 5-11 middle hitter provided nine kills.
After losing to Baker at home early in the week, Freeport posted road wins at Blountstown (21-25, 25-17, 25-21, 25-14) and South Walton with the Seahawks falling to 1-1 after an opening win over Rocky Bayou (25-20, 25-10, 25-22).
South Walton coach Susie Seeger had a dozen players on her varsity roster with Katie Logan playing well in the middle for the squad. The Seahawks showed a good mix of talent as several different players contributed during the match to give the school roster depth that should serve them well as the season moves on.
Game Notes: The two teams are scheduled to meet three times this season. South Walton will travel to Freeport on Sept. 22 and Oct. 18. Volleyball is one of the few sports the two Walton County schools face off against each other in district play. Freeport’s road game at Chipley will be taped and replayed on TV-24 on Friday at 5 p.m. South Walton does not play again until a Sept. 12 home game with Baker.