Volleyball starts last, but not least
The last team to start play, De Soto got the season started right
The action in De Soto's season-opening volleyball tournament ranged from exciting and tense to uneventful and foregone.
It all amounted to a 3-0 record, however.
De Soto powered its way through the home quadrangular, easily besting Maranatha and Bishop Seabury Academy and handling Atchison in two tight games.
"We're very proud," De Soto assistant coach Justin Franklin said. "We have a few kinks we still need to work out, but after the first competition of the season, we're going strong."
The volleyball squad was the last De Soto fall sports team to start its season, and Tuesday it appeared the extra time was put to good use. The Cats opened their season with a pair of victories over Seabury.
After netting the first game 25-7, the team struggled in the second and Seabury tied things up at 21 and actually took a late lead at 22-21. De Soto got the serve back, however, and scored four more points for the 25-23 win.
Things never got tense in the second match as De Soto rolled up Maranatha without much trouble. The Cats went up 6-0 early and led 12-2 before closing out the first game with a 25-7 victory. De Soto won the second game and the match with a 25-9 encore.
"In all honesty, the first match we were hoping we wouldn't go three (games), but the girls had their confidence up and they stuck with it," Franklin said. "They knew what they wanted to do."
The toughest test of the night came last as De Soto outlasted Atchison in a pair of games. The Cats took a quick 2-1 lead in the first game, but soon fell behind and trailed 10-6.
Jackie Goleman led the Cats with powerful kills all night, but after picking up one early against Atchison, she couldn't deliver through the middle part of the first game.
The Atchison defense saved one kill that rocketed off her fist as if it would break through the gymnasium floor, then saved another powerful blast on the same point when Kayla Bader took a swing.
Goleman finally got back on track, hammering one home to make it 10-7. She racked up 13 kills in the two games against Atchison.
Bader supplied a key shot to tie the game up at 17 and a pair of Goleman shots gave De Soto a 23-21 lead and finally the game, 25-23.
"The third match they had a lot of good diggers -- a lot of good defensive skills," Franklin said.
De Soto led most of the way through the second game, but Atchison closed to within 22-20 late in the game before the Cats scored five straight to take a 25-20 victory.
"We found their kinks and their holes and we used them very well," Franklin said. "Jackie was very strong, same way with Kayla and our setter (Sydney Tenney) was on as well. When you have good combos and your players have good chemistry like that, you're on fire."
Goleman finished with 25 kills on the night while Bader had 11. Lisbeth Rosales left midway through the third match with a leg injury, but not before piling up seven kills.
"I can't really pinpoint any one player as being any better," coach Junelle Woolery said. "The hitters hit when they needed to. We had some phenomenal passing too. The serves were on as well."
De Soto is next in action at 9 a.m. Saturday at a tournament in Lansing.