DeSoto LB

DeSoto’s Fayth Rackeweg, left, rises up for the spike as Lemon Bay’s Kat McCall elevates for the block.

The Dave Bremer 3.0 update looks a lot like the DeSoto County volleyball coach’s previous two versions.

The Bulldogs opened their season with a 3-0 sweep at Lemon Bay on Tuesday night, exhibiting many of the hallmarks that made past Bremer squads perennial regional threats. Solid play along the back line supported some heavy hitting up front and the ability to pounce on mistakes by the opposition asserted itself once the opening-day nerves settled down.

“The jitters showed all throughout,” Bremer said. “The deer in the headlights look? I had a few out there with that, but I felt we were fortunate. We got some good runs when Lemon Bay was in their not-so-good rotations, which you’ve got to do.”

DeSoto County took the match 25-14, 25-21 and 25-19, winning each game in different ways against an erratic and young Lemon Bay squad that showed flashes of big-hitting potential.

The final game might have been the Bulldogs’ finest. With their backs against the wall, the Mantas (1-1) controlled the early tempo and built a 15-10 lead. DeSoto responded by taking 15 of the game’s final 19 points, mostly behind the strong serving of Caroline Walker and the hitting of Taylor Shaver and freshman Raegan Hancock, whom Bremer said could one day be comparable to DeSoto County legend Brittany Muse.

“We’ve got to work on that transition game a little bit and work on our excitement,” Bremer said. “We’re working on put-away hits. Honestly, Lemon Bay helped us out with a lot of miscues.”

That characterization was accurate, said Lemon Bay coach Pat Auer, whose Mantas opened their season last week with a sweep of North Port. Roster churn caught up with Lemon Bay on Tuesday. After losing eight seniors from last year’s district runners-up, the Mantas are relying heavily on sophomores and freshmen. That inexperience created opportunities for the Bulldogs.

“We had to switch our lineup a little bit and I think I messed that up,” Auer said. “But we just made too many mistakes. They hit, hit, hit and we were just sloppy. You can’t do that.”

Sophomore Presley Engelauf and freshman Taylor Orris keyed several Manta runs with strong hitting in the middle.

“We’re trying to build the team around them, but we’re sorting out our outsides right now,” Auer said. “We our moments. We had some nice streaks and we didn’t capitalize on them or keep the streaks going and (DeSoto) did.”

Bremer keeps going, as well. His third turn at the helm came to fruition when no one applied for the job over the summer.

“We had posted it and at the time, I was principal at the high school,” Bremer said. “We had no takers and I just couldn’t let it go. I couldn’t do that. I said if nobody applies for it, I’ll come back. I love it. It’s not a burden on me at all. I love being around these girls. They’re the best.”

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