Crowd packs in for first-ever Destin High School volleyball game

Tina Harbuck
The Destin Log

This is a year of firsts for Destin High School. 

Last Wednesday the Destin High golf team took to the links in their first competition. Thursday night, the Destin High School Sharks experienced another first. The Lady Sharks played their first-ever volleyball game against Niceville. 

But more than a game, it was a big community event for Destin, with about 300 people pouring into the Family Life Center at Destin United Methodist Church to watch the match. The Life Center is the home court for the Sharks. 

Destin High students were out in full support with flags waving at Thursday night's volleyball debut.

It was evident that it was a home event with family, friends, students and others seated in the makeshift bleachers to those standing around the walls just waiting to cheer on the hometown Sharks. 

The Lady Sharks made a big entrance with music blaring and lights flashing as they came out a tunnel and circled the court with fans cheering. 

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“I stood with Denise Fountain (fellow founding board member of DHS) watching our Lady Sharks run through the team tunnel, with the pump-up music blaring, the student section cheering loudly, and was literally brought to tears,” said Heidi LoCicero, a member of the Destin High governing board. 

However, LoCicero said her favorite part of the game was “watching the high school fellas make the Fins Up sign each time DHS scored. Watching new traditions begin and be embraced is such a great moment for our community,” she said. 

The Destin High School Shark cheer team cheered on the Lady Sharks as they took on the Niceville Eagles.

Matt Dahlman and his family came out Thursday to support DHS. Dahlman, who was seated against the wall with his two boys, said they came out because his daughter is a freshman at DHS and has friends playing on the team. 

“I thought the atmosphere was electric,” Dahlman said. “It got really loud inside the gym a few times. I was really impressed with the girls to be a small school in its first year and to hang tough with a big school like Niceville was really cool to see.”

Board member Fountain even commented about the “loudness” in the gym. 

It was Sharks cheering on Sharks at Thursday's volleyball game at the Destin United Methodist Church Family Life Center.

“The Destin High fans were cheering so loud as the Sharks scored, the referee actually put his hands over his ears and smiled,” Fountain said. 

The freshmen Sharks took the court first against Niceville’s freshmen and lost. 

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Up next the Shark junior varsity team matched up against Niceville’s JV in the best three out of five games. 

The Sharks lost but not without putting up a good fight. They lost the first game 25-20, then 25-12 on the second. In the second game, Destin had a two-point lead early on. In game three, the Sharks lost 25-13. 

Families friends and others filled the seats at the Family Life Center to watch the hometown Sharks.

But the loss didn’t faze the team or the fans. 

“It was the best game ever,” said Elaine Wolford of the Sharks. “It was really intense … everybody was hyped up. Everybody was hustling. … We were diving over each other.”

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“We can only get better from here,” teammate Regan Palmer said as they walked off the court. 

Destin High Athletic Director Phil Dorn was excited and happy for the team. 

The crowd really got behind the Destin High School Sharks as they took on Niceville in their first-ever volleyball game.

“They competed well,” Dorn said with a smile on his face. 

He wasn’t the only one smiling, Destin High Principal Christine Cruickshank was wearing a big one. 

“Was that amazing or what?” she said. “The fans, the girls, the teams … it was amazing. I can’t wait until the next game.”