Cats wipe away competition
Last year the De Soto volleyball season ended with a sweep at the hands of K.C. Piper in the first round of the sub-state playoffs. The loss capped a season that saw the squad go 16-18 under first year head coach Lori Brooks.
But on Tuesday, any remnants of last year seemed remote as the Wildcats opened their 2005 season at home in a quadrangular featuring Atchison, Bishop-Seabury Academy and Maranatha Academy. And for this occasion the Wildcats brought out the brooms.
The Wildcats played with energy and confidence as the team went undefeated in its opening match.
"They're playing with a confidence that they didn't have last year," head coach Lori Brooks said of her team's opening night wins. "It's a great boost to start the season."
The night began with the Wildcats taking on the Lady Redman of Atchison.
The Wildcats took care of business in its opener winning 25-10, 25-21.
"We were really excited to get the season started," senior Jessica Blankenship said. "And this was a great way to start the season."
Blankenship did her part in the opening win by serving up five aces, while junior Jackie Goleman split the Lady Redmen's backcourt with seven kills.
The Wildcats also went into the Atchison match-up without the services of their captain senior Lauren Hampton, who was competing for the tennis team. Hampton showed up late, but Brooks was proud that her team managed just fine without such an important senior.
"I was pleased to see the team respond without their captain," Brooks said. "It just speaks about the confidence that they have coming into this year."
Bishop-Seabury matched up well against De Soto as far as height and speed were concerned, but the Wildcats still fought for a 25-22, 25-23 sweep.
Game one saw the Wildcats jump out to a seven point lead. But Seabury matched the De Soto intensity and then rallied to take a 16-14 lead. Six of the Seahawks comeback points were unanswered.
But the Wildcats had an answer of their own as Blankenship and Goleman helped spark the team with two quick points to draw De Soto back to a tie.
"They (Seabury) got into our heads a little bit," Goleman said. "But I think we came through all right."
Junior Sydney Tenney came through in the effort with nine assists, while Hampton had six kills.
Blankenship put together another impressive showing in the second game and at one point accounted for six straight Wildcats points.
The third match-up pitted the Wildcats against an undersized squad from Maranatha Academy.
The Wildcats had little trouble dealing with the smaller team winning powerfully, 25-5, 25-3.
Junior Sam Johnson had 15 assists against Maranatha while Goleman continued her strong outing with another six kills.
The Wildcats (3-0) travel to Lansing for a ten-team tournament on Saturday. The team feels like it's headed in the right direction for a good showing this weekend.