Volleyball improves in league
Volleyball is composed of emotion and momentum, the sign of a good sport, a group of De Soto players said Tuesday.
That these Wildcats can overcome those waves and pick up wins even when both emotion and momentum seem to be against them -- that's the sign of a good team, De Soto coach Lori Brooks added.
The Wildcats overcame what Brooks deemed the "worst start in the history of this season" to pick up two crucial wins in a triangular with Spring Hill and Ottawa.
De Soto lost its first game to Ottawa 15-25, but still rallied to win four-straight. Lauren Hampton had 14 kills as the Cats rallied to beat the Cyclones 25-19 and 25-23. Jackie Goleman had nine kills when De Soto shut down Spring Hill, 25-20 and 25-16.
"This game is about ups and downs -- the emotional level -- and when you get excited and happy about something, that just picks your game up and everyone starts working," senior Hailey Stueber said. "When we had our lower points, we got down on ourselves, but as soon as someone starts going good, it took care of itself."
In the Spring Hill match -- the most consistent of the night -- the Wildcats rode the momentum and emotion and managed to come out on top in both games.
The first game was tight, tying at 17, 18, 19 and 20 before De Soto finally broke it open and scored the last five points.
The second game had a similar point where everything just seemed to click. De Soto trailed the Broncos 10-12, but Goleman led the charge and the team took 15 of the next 19 points.
The two league wins were crucial, Brooks said, improving the Wildcats to 6-4 in Frontier League play.
Even more impressive, however, was that the wins came with Goleman, one of the team's strongest players, suffering from a shoulder injury.
She played, but the team learned not to rely upon her presence in the middle like they had in the past.
"We had to go to the outsides more," Kayla Bader said. "We had to mix it up more. She couldn't be our go-to player and I think that helped us. Other people stepped it up."
Momentum is key, Brooks stressed, and the Cats are on top of a giant wave now.
Their Wildcat Spikefest tournament attracted some of the top teams in the area Saturday, and all went according to plan. De Soto would have loved to have won the event, but it made it out of pool play and knocked off Tonganoxie, 25-23, 22-25 and 25-23, for third place.
Brooks saw the same attributes Saturday that helped the team out Tuesday: the perseverance to fight even without the emotion and momentum.
"That's the biggest difference between last year and this year," Brooks said. "We have a lot of the same players on the floor, but when the score's 20-24, it's not over. Last year we would have said 'It's over. Next game.' It shows a ton of character and maturity."