Stottlemire sets table for DHS heavy hitters
De Soto High's volleyball opponents will soon have to face reality literally. With less than a week remaining before the regular season begins, Reality Stottlemire is preparing to lead an experienced group of underclassmen into a new season.
That experience came at a cost, however. With several seniors leaving DHS for the newly built Mill Valley High School, the Lady Wildcats suffered through a 0-28 record last year.
That experience won't keep Stottlemire from going into the season thinking positively.
"All in all the talent has grown," said Stottlemire. "And the freshmen have just added to that."
According to the 5-foot-6-inch junior setter, maintaining a positive attitude comes with the territory of being a setter.
"A setter gets put into a spot that makes them a leader," she said. "As a setter, I have to try to set an example for the young players, so I need to stay positive. It's also important I know every position on the court and where everybody should be at all times."
Stottlemire has put in a lot of work during the offseason to prepare for her junior year. Besides the usual rigors her second year coach Kelly Meyer demands, her father Dennis also shares pointers.
"He helps me practice my setting and when I do something wrong, he'll point it out to me," she said.
Stottlemire has also taken advantage of the many volleyball camps the area offers during the summer months, including the MidAmerica Nazarene University Volleyball Camp and the De Soto Volleyball Camp. She also gives of her own time to help teach the younger kids at the Wildcat Camp in De Soto.
Stottlemire spends her winter months playing club volleyball for the Sunflowers, which consists of athletes from De Soto, Tonganoxie, Kansas City, Lansing and other surrounding communities.
During the spring, you can find her competing in the Johnson County Girls Athletic Association volleyball leagues.
Stottlemire traces her love for the game to an experience on her seventh-grade team.
"I was the first player to serve overhanded and it got me all excited," she recalled. "It made me want to see how good I could be. I love it."
Stottlemire hasn't been able to escape the injury bug during her short high school career. While practicing her freshman year, she suffered a hip flexor. Although the injury hasn't shown signs of reoccurring during a game, she still has to be careful to stretch it properly.
"I stretch my hip while everybody else is doing their stretches, and then I do my other stretches," she said. "My hip still cramps up from time to time, and shoots pain, but it hasn't bothered me during a game."
During whatever spare time she might have, Stottlemire enjoys watching movies like her all-time favorite, "Monte Python and the Holy Grail". She also enjoys the Adam Sandler films "Big Daddy," and "The Water Boy." Though she would love to get a full-ride scholarship to play volleyball, Stottlemire is prepared to attend junior college for a couple years and then transfer to a four year school if volleyball doesn't work out. She plans on pursuing a doctorate in psychology because she likes to help others.
"People like to talk to me," she said. "Sometimes they'll even ask for a little advice."
When reality sets in this season, some of her opponents may be asking for help also.