Rally helps De Soto play spoiler
At its best Tuesday, the De Soto volleyball team salvaged all but the most vicious of kill attempts. It responded with a steady attack of its own and supplemented that with a strong serving game.
At their best Tuesday, the Cats bounced back from a first-game loss and an ugly start to the second to beat Louisburg, which was celebrating senior night.
De Soto beat Louisburg on its home turf, ruining senior night via a 18-25, 25-22, 26-24 victory. The Cats lost their second match of a the night 25-14, 25-13 to Spring Hill, but it was in the first action that De Soto found what it wanted to take from the night.
"I asked them to give me everything they had, and they really did," De Soto coach Jenny Barnhart said. "They were battling for every point in both matches."
A slow start to the season has the Cats savoring every win they get. Tuesday's was even sweeter considering how far De Soto had to battle back to make it happen.
The Cats lost the first game and trailed 11-6 in the second when junior Danielle Price took the serve. Bolstered by a strong defense and patient attack, she didn't relinquish it until De Soto was on top, 14-12.
Louisburg bounced back, but Carlie Burnett hammered one kill just inside the sideline and notched another when a Louisburg player awkwardly clubbed her attack into the far court.
A pair of Louisburg mistakes put De Soto up 19-16. It tied again at 20 and 22, but De Soto stayed alive in the match when a tip from Erika Titus fell between two Louisburg players and Price closed the game with two aces.
"We were down, so I knew I really needed to push it," Price said of her serving streak that set the Cats right. "Everyone else played great. We did a great job of getting the ball back over the net.
"Any time you get up and stay up, it's great. We really got on a roll after that."
It was even closer in the second game, the score tying five times early before De Soto extended a consistently two- or three-point lead. The end was in sight when the Cats went up 19-16, but the score tied again 21, a part of a stretch when Louisburg took eight of 10 points.
The Cats twice missed on opportunities, failing to stem Louisburg's tide despite spectacular diving saves by Price and Tami Crow, and the home team came within a point of winning the match, making it 24-21 after a De Soto ball flew long.
DHS found one last rally, however, using several Louisburg mishandles, strong serves from sophomore Jordin Burford and key volley from junior Amber Laudick to take a 25-24 lead.
One more Buford serve won the match.
"That was us putting the ball in play," Barnhart said. "When we're able to dig, set and attack back that allows the other team to make the mistakes."
The second match didn't bring nearly as much drama. Spring Hill powered its way through any De Soto attempt to keep the score close, gathering a 18-9 lead in the first game and breaking open a 10-10 tie with 15 of the final 18 points to take the second game.
The Cats, 5-14, hope to take advantage of their final week of home action in preparing for the season's last stretch.
De Soto first will welcome some of the area's best teams with its premier home event, Saturday's Wildcat Invitational.
The team will then celebrate senior night Tuesday in a home triangular against Ottawa and Spring Hill.
"We played really well (against Louisburg), but I know we can play better," Price said. "We're really going to try to show our potential."