Destin High School girls volleyball team makes good showing in historic first game
Before a packed gym, the Destin High Sharks girls volleyball team didn't win on the scoreboard against the Niceville Eagles, but it was a win nonetheless.
Thursday's game against Niceville was the first-ever volleyball game for the Sharks. It was played at Destin United Methodist Church in the Family Life Center, which will serve as the Sharks' home court for the season.
"We had them going for it," said Destin coach Brinley Kennady. "In the middle we came up short earning our points, but we were playing with them."
"It was just so exciting," Kennady added.
To start the night, the Destin freshmen took on Niceville's freshmen and lost 25-3, 25-5.
Then the junior varsity teams took the floor. Destin has no senior class, so they play junior varsity teams when they compete against the bigger 5A and 6A schools.
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In the first game, Niceville jumped out to a 7-3 lead, but then the Sharks got things rolling. Destin broke Niceville's serve, then Alayna Hall served up two for the Sharks for a 7-6 game. For the rest of the game, Destin kept the Eagles within reach. The Sharks won points on a couple of long volleys and Ella Harris hammered one in for a point. In the end, Niceville won 25-20.
In the second game, Niceville again took the lead, 5-0. But the Sharks rallied and took a 6-5 lead with Angelina Cooley serving up five straight. The Sharks lost the serve but soon got it back. Elaine Wolford nailed an ace for the Sharks for an 8-6 advantage. Niceville came back, though, with Emily Barker serving up seven straight. Destin picked up a few more points, but in the end Niceville won 25-12.
In game three, Destin lost 25-13 but not without Regan Palmer and Anna Carroll getting in a few blocks.
Although the Sharks played Niceville's junior varsity team, Kennady said they played like a varsity team.
"It looks like we can compete," she said.
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"To be able to have girls on our team that have never played volleyball, to hang with them, it's just so exciting," Kennady said, noting the block from first-time volleyballer Palmer.
And the Sharks had the support of a very loud home crowd.
"I had to scream over the fans. The girls couldn't hear me ... but it's nice," Kennady said. "(The fans) get hyped up and it boosts their morale on the floor. They hear that and they feed into that."
"It was the best game ever," said Wolford.
"It was tough, but fun," said Hannah Baxley. "I thought we competed."
The Sharks will be on the road this Labor Day weekend for a tournament in Foley, Alabama.
The Sharks' next home game is Sept. 13, at the DUMC Family Life Center, against Walton County. Freshmen play at 5 p.m. followed by the junior varsity at 6 p.m.