VOLLEYBALL: Port Charlotte blanks Cape Coral

By Chuck Ballaro, Sun Correspondent

PORT CHARLOTTE — The Port Charlotte High School volleyball team didn’t have the luxury of looking ahead to its huge game tonight against Charlotte, not when it had its District 7A-10 opener on the road against Cape Coral to worry about.

And although the Seahawks gave the Pirates quite a tussle for a couple games, they couldn’t overcome big service matches from Kiersten Tisdale and Laticia Nina as Port Charlotte rolled 3-0 (25-20, 25-15, 25-12).

Tisdale had her best game so far this season, with 14 points, six aces and six kills. Nina had 16 points, nine of them in the final game to put the match away, as well as 12 kills and five digs.

Looking deeper, it may have been their best all-around team effort of the season after two easy victories to start the season.

“Kiersten hit well and served well. I thought our two middles, Celia Baermann (six kills) and Kaelyn Griffiths, did really good tonight,” Port Charlotte coach Kevin Krause said.

Tisdale said the team started out with low energy, but once they got in the flow, they started having fun and playing better, something she hopes carries over into their game against Charlotte.

“I think it will be the best game we’ve played against Charlotte in a while. I think it will be a really close game,” Tisdale said. “We’ve been putting in a lot of work and we want to prove that we want to do well this season.”

Port Charlotte (3-0, 1-0) got off to a sluggish start as both teams struggled on the serve early. It was Tisdale who got the Pirates rolling as she served up a 9-0 run to give the Pirates a 16-9 lead.

Cape Coral (2-1, 0-1) chipped away, and was able to cut the lead to 20-19 before the Pirates fought off the threat.

The Seahawks also started strong in the second game, but Madelyn Paul, who also had a solid game off the bench, served Port Charlotte back on top, while Nina served out the game after Cape Coral again threatened to come close.

In the final game, it was Tisdale and Nina again giving the Seahawks service return nightmares, and after Nina served her long run to give the Pirates a 19-7 lead, Krause felt confident enough to empty the bench.

Jesse Bachman led the Seahawks with five kills, while Isabella Ico had eight digs for a team that got more deflated as the match progressed.

“Port Charlotte played well and kept pressure on us. Our girls were excited for this game, but it ran away as the match went on,” said Cape coach Cody Dunn. “We have people who can handle the pressure. It was an off night for us.”

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