Destin High Lady Sharks improve, but still no volleyball victory

Tina Harbuck
The Destin Log

Although the scoreboard didn’t reflect it, it was still a victory for the Destin High Sharks girls volleyball team as they showed improvement on the court in Niceville on Tuesday evening. 

“I will say we are continuously improving, and it really showed on the court last night,” said Destin High volleyball coach Brinley Kennady. 

The Sharks traveled across the bay to take on the Niceville Eagles. The Sharks lost, 25-11, 25-9, 25-18. 

Destin's Reagan Palmer and Anna Carroll go up for the block against the Niceville Eagles. The Eagles won the volleyball match.

“I had players step in and play different positions due to us not having one of our starters for the match. Everyone stepped up and filled in roles, which was great,” Kennady said. 

“Our front row blockers are really starting to pick up on reading hitters and being in a good position to get a good touch or block on the ball,” she added. “We had several great blocks throughout the match, but definitely during the third set did our blockers show out.”  

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In the first set, Niceville jumped out to a 6-0 lead with Kyla Buehner at the service line. The Sharks picked up a point here and there with Angelina Cooley delivering a kill and Laura La Guardia making a block. However, the Sharks never could make a run on the Eagles and lost 25-11. 

In set two, Niceville again dominated by making a five-point run to start. Destin picked up points on missed Eagle serves, plus Adriana Kerns served up an ace and Anna Carroll delivered a kill. Destin trailed 16-9. At that point, Niceville’s Anna Kimball stepped up and served up eight consecutive points for the win. 

Destin's Elaine Wolford gets down on her knees to get a shot at the ball against the Niceville Eagles. Destin lost the match at Niceville on Tuesday night.

Set three started the same, with Niceville going up 6-1, but the Sharks hung tough.

They broke the serve and picked up a point with LaGuardia at the service line. The Eagles picked up a point, then Destin picked up two more with a win on a long volley for a 7-5 game. 

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The scoring went back and forth, with the Sharks keeping the Eagles within two to three points. Destin’s Carroll hammered in a shot for point and Niceville’s Kimball delivered a kill shot to give the Eagles a 19-14 advantage. 

Destin picked up a point on a miss from the Eagles, then Niceville’s Kimball went to the service line and picked up two more points on a tap in and net violation by the Sharks.

Destin got the ball back with Reagan Palmer going up for the block. The Sharks picked up a point on a serve from Cooley but then turned it back over to the Eagles. Destin got one last point on another block from Palmer. The Eagles finished on top 25-18. 

“Even though we lost the match we can’t beat ourselves up over it,” Kennady said. “We did many great things during the match and we are taking big chances by facing teams like Niceville."

On Monday, the Sharks hosted the Walton Braves on their home court at Destin United Methodist Church Family Life Center. The Sharks lost 25-19, 25-5, 25-18. 

In the third set, Destin took the lead twice but couldn’t hold on. Down 8-7, Destin’s Cooley went to the line and served up three straight points for an 11-8 advantage. But the Braves broke the serve and then put up two points to tie the game. Destin got the ball back on a hit from Palmer, but turned it back over after losing it on a volley. 

Destin's Angelina Cooley hits the ball back over the net against the Walton Braves during Monday's match at the Family Life Center in Destin. Destin lost the match.

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Walton’s Aubriyah Smith served up three consecutive points to go up 15-12. Destin kept it close but never took the lead again, taking the loss 25-18. 

“I’m forever proud of this group of girls for really stepping out of their comfort zone,” Kennady said. 

Destin's Laura LaGuardia bumps the ball up against the Walton Braves on Monday night in Destin at the Family Life Center. Destin lost the volleyball match.

“It’s a tough learning curve to be a part of a brand new program. Not only that, but they are brand new to each other, so we are all trying to figure out how each of us play this sport,” she said. “These games have been showing the potential our program has, I see great things as we continue, and we can only go up from here.”

Up next for the Sharks is a 5 p.m. game on Sept. 22 at Navarre High School.