De Soto volleyball stacked with seniors

Coach Lindsay Hothan poses with the nine 2018 volleyball seniors during fall sports picture day Aug. 21.

Wildcat Photo

Coach Lindsay Hothan poses with the nine 2018 volleyball seniors during fall sports picture day Aug. 21.

Lynlee Hutchison, Staff Reporter

De Soto High School’s volleyball team has high hopes for a great season, with nine seniors competing in their final year.

Six of the nine seniors have played on varsity since their freshman year, so underclassmen will have huge shoes to fill next year.

Senior defensive specialist Kendall Schmitt advised incoming players to “enjoy the season and play your hardest. With so many of us leaving, it’ll be intense, but make sure you enjoy it while you can because it really does go by so fast.”

With many spots opening in the 2019 season, the seniors are leaving the team in the hands of their fellow underclassmen teammates.

“When I became a part of the varsity team last year I was the youngest one and still am. The upperclassman were so accepting and really made me feel apart of the team,” said sophomore outside hitter Brooke Stonestreet.

The varsity team has many team goals in mind to fulfill before a handful of the girls hand in their uniforms one last time.

“One major team goal we always strive to accomplish is winning Sub-State,” said senior middle hitter Ally Barnhart.

“We have been so close every year, and since we have so many seniors, it would be a great way to end the season by making it to state,” Schmitt agreed.

The girls are very focused and work hard every practice to follow through with their plan.

Head coach Lindsay Hothan, who has been at the helm since 2010, has loved to watch these seniors grow throughout the time she has had with them.

“They are a really fun and spirited group of girls,” Hothan said. “It’s been great to see them all grow up and still love the game.”

Part of what is so strong about this team is the close friendships between every player.

“I think we have created a close bond through knowing each other so well and being able to recognize when a teammate needs help or when a teammate is at their peak,” senior setter Loren Hinkle said.

Through developing friendships, the girls have grown playing alongside one another from year to year at DHS.

“The level of play and talent has increased significantly since I started playing … the team is very close this year and we support one another on and off the court,” said senior right side hitter Haley Cuba.

Although these girls have been playing together for many years, it does not mean they can’t be accepting of new team members. Senior Faith Hammontree joined the varsity team this year after transferring from Heritage Christian Academy.

“The welcome I got coming into the De Soto volleyball program has been great,” Hammontree said. “I loved my team the three years I was at Heritage, but the competition [at De Soto] is at a higher level of consistency. The support that the De Soto Wildcat community gives is much greater overall.”

The relationship the girls have all built with Hothan is a key factor to their success.

“Coach Hothan has definitely met my requirements as a coach. She has shaped me to become who I am as a volleyball player,” senior setter Kennedy Higgins said.

“Coach Hothan is one of the best coaches I’ve personally ever had. She knows how to push us girls to be our best, and she cares about us way more than just on a volleyball level,” senior libero Maya Bascom said.

The teams immense talent always keeps everyone on the edge of their seat.

“I enjoy the intensity of the matches and how the entire team gets into the games. The entire bench and girls on the court are constantly screaming and cheering,” senior right hitter Emma Chacey said. “We get out there to get our job done and have fun doing it.”

Along with the successes of the team, individually five of the nine seniors have already committed to continue their volleyball career in college.

Moving forward, all the commits say they are ready to create new memories and move on to the next step of intensity. However, they will miss playing all together when they all soon split their separate ways.

“I’ve enjoyed playing with my teammates. It’s such a great thing to have a really close team where we are good friends on and off the court and always laughing and making memories over the past years,” said senior outside hitter Kaitlyn Bell.

As the girls continue to play out their final season, the memories they made on the team will be the ones they remember for a lifetime.