Varsity volleyball sweeps Baldwin High School

Emma Bascom, Editor-in-Chief

The De Soto High School varsity volleyball team moved to 20-5 on the season on Sept. 27 with their win over the Baldwin Bulldogs in straight sets 25-16, 25-15, 25-14.

The Wildcats struggled early in the first game, but regained their composure eventually. Several service aces by libero Maya Bascom, blocks by middle hitters Ally Barnhart and Jackie Kennard and smart plays from the setter Haley Cuba helped the team take control and win 25-16.

In the second set, DHS jumped out to an early 9-1 lead to start the game, fueled by setter Kennedy Higgins’ serves, blocks from Barnhart and kills from outside hitter Cassidy Crist. There was a small hitch with rotation issues and other miscues halfway through, but the Wildcats were able to overcome and get the victory, 25-15.

De Soto struggled again at the beginning of the third set with some rotational mishaps and net calls. However, a time-out from head coach Lindsay Hothan helped to get the team’s head on straight. Following this, Barnhart had four straight kills to get DHS’ momentum back. DHS found a way to get the win 25-14, sweeping the Bulldogs.

“I feel like we did a nice job. It was a little bit different tonight because we were mixing up the rotation, getting some new faces in and get more opportunities. With that comes a little bit of confusion here and there, but I thought they pushed through that really well,” Hothan said. “I told them to just focus on the little things, focus on the basics, just play volleyball and we’ll be fine regardless of who is in what spot.”

The rotation issues partially came from the return of sophomore all-around player Loren Hinkle. Hinkle was diagnosed with two stress fractures in her foot, causing her to miss most of the season until this point.

“[Hinkle] adds a lot of kills and energy on the court. At first it was weird because she hasn’t been in the rotation, but once we got used to her again it was like all of our old stuff, so it all worked out well, I think,” Kennard said.

However, the small issues were not enough to force the Wildcats into a loss. DHS had seen Baldwin before in a tournament, so they knew what to expect. It was also helpful that Barnhart had 12 kills in 12 attempts and 6 blocks on the night.

“It feels good because normally middles don’t get set a lot due to either bad passes or our not being ready, so it feels great knowing that I had that many chances, and it helps because our passing was awesome tonight,” Barnhart said. “I’m just glad I was able to help the team out.”

Hothan agreed, saying that there was “no specific turning point,” but that Barnhart played a big role in the win.

“…I appreciate how Ally Barnhart really stepped up at the net. She had some big kills tonight—I’m sure her stats look great,” Hothan said. “She had some big blocks and big kills, so I like to see how she stepped it up and had such a strong presence there.”

To the team, the win against Baldwin was especially important because it was one more name marked off in order to win the league championship, which the Wildcats only need two more wins to take.

“I’m really excited for the rest of the league games because we have prepared ourselves both mentally and physically in order to fulfill our goal of winning league,” Barnhart said.

The team’s next game is Oct. 8, where they host the Spikefest tournament.