Every time Island Coast got the upper hand, Ida Baker countered and kept plugging away until the Bulldogs came away with a five-set 24-26, 25-23, 16-25, 25-23, 15-6 victory Monday night in the opening match of the District 6A-13 volleyball tournament at Fort Myers.
"We pulled together as a team, that was the key," said Bulldogs coach Rene Van Horn. "When we struggled we had a hard time with our passing and serve/receive and our setting was a bit off. We adjusted."
The Bulldogs rallied in the fourth game after being down seven points.
"Winning the fourth game drove us into the fifth game," said Van Horn.
Despite the defeat, the outlook for Island Coast coach Renee Roggow was positive.
"It was a good night," Roggow said. "I could not ask to end the season on a better note. We played so hard, I could not have asked for more out of them. It was a hard-fought match. I could not be happier."
Devon Ramey led the Bulldogs with six kills and four service aces. Kristina Kayatta added four kills, five aces and four assists. Ali Nicloy contributed four kills and three asissts. Brittney Benvie was credited with five assists and Tiffany Wood six assists.
Kelly Dino had a game-high eight kills along with two assists for the Gators (3-18). Kennedy Adams came up with 13 assists and seven aces while Olivia Lugo had two aces and nine assists.
The Bulldogs (12-13) advance to Tuesday's semifinals against top-seeded Fort Myers at 7 p.m.
District 5A-13 at Cypress Lake: Crosstown rivals Cape Coral and Mariner met in the opening match of the tournament Monday night. It took five games, but Cape Coral outlasted and prevailed over the Tritons 25-23, 14-25, 25-20, 16-25, 19-17.
"We never gave up," summed up Seahawks coach Lindsey Conley. "We made mistakes and half of the team was sick, including me."
Kristi Maselter powered the Seahawks to victory with 19 kills to go with three service aces. Jessica Magee added nine kills and three aces while Katie Upton was credited with 15 assists and Dana Windey five kills.
The Seahawks (12-14) earn the right to take on No. 1 seed Lemon Bay at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday night in the semifinals.
District 3A-11 at Oasis: District host Oasis played a near flawless match Monday night, taking out Community School of Naples in a straight set 25-14, 25-9, 25-17 in the tournament opener.
"Everyone played within our system tonight," said Sharks coach James Mikolajczyk. "We made a minimum of errors on our part and everyone played to their strengths. Our passing and serve receive game was very sharp."
Marion Chlipala led the Sharks with 12 kills and two service aces. Natalie Westendorf added seven kills, one ace and six blocks while Larra Bickelhaupt contributed eight kills along with three aces. Emma Nelson handed out 30 assists and served three aces.
The fourth-seeded Sharks (19-7) advance to Tuesday's semifinals against top-seeded Evangelical Christian. That match starts at 5 p.m. followed by third-seeded Seacrest against second-seeded Canterbury. Seacrest advanced Monday with a win over St. John Neumann and Canterbury swept past Moore Haven.