Destin High Sharks volleyball team finishes first season on a good note

Tina Harbuck
The Destin Log

In their last match of their first season, the Destin High Sharks finished with another small victory on the volleyball court. 

Playing on the road in Niceville against the Rocky Bayou Christian School Knights varsity team, Destin lost the first two sets, but won the third, 25-21. And set four went down to the wire, with Destin falling 25-23. 

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“It was such a close match,” said Destin Coach Brinley Kennady. “Definitely wanted to take them to five sets.” 

In varsity volleyball, the girls play the best three out of five sets to win the match. 

Destin's Hannah Baxley digs out a shot for the Destin High Sharks in a game against the Rocky Bayou Knights in Niceville Thursday evening.

Rocky won the first two, 25-16 and 25-17. 

“We had so many great plays and rallies. You can truly see the improvement. Just like each match we’ve had, we’ve just improved so much,” Kennady said. 

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“To be able to play at that level against girls who have played with each other at that school over four years, against seniors, it was amazing,” she added. 

This was the first season for the new Destin High Sharks, which is made up for grades ninth through 11th, and a first for some of the girls on the team to play school volleyball. 

As for Thursday night in Niceville, the Sharks held their own. 

In the first set, Destin jumped out to a 6-1 lead with Angelina Cooley at the service line. Reagan Palmer, at the net, put up a block for a point. Destin lost the serve and Rocky went on a nine-point scoring spree with Emilee McPhereson at the line and a 10-6 go ahead. 

Destin evened the score with Alayna Hall knocking in three for aces and a 11-11 game.  

In the end, Rocky made two more little runs on the Sharks, to take the win 25-16. 

Destin's Alayna Hall bumps the ball back over to the Rocky Bayou Knights in high school volleyball action in Niceville.

In set two, the lead swapped hands four times before the Knights made two runs at the end with McPhereson and Chesed Turner serving up points for a 25-17 win. 

In set three, Destin came from behind twice to pull off the win. Rocky took an early 3-1 lead, but then Destin came back with Palmer at the service line to give the Sharks a 6-3 advantage. 

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Rocky put up two points, but then Destin broke the serve and went on a little scoring spree putting up five points with Hall at the line. Destin led 12-5. Rocky’s Madison Moore hammered one in to break the serve and then the Knights scored three more for a 12-9 game. 

Destin picked up a point on a miss by Rocky but then turned the ball right back to the Knights. Rocky took a 14-13 lead. Destin tied the game, then gave it right back to Rocky who went up 16-14. 

At that point, Destin broke the serve and put up six straight points with Cooley at the service line and Palmer at the net blocking shots left and right, as well as putting a few back. Ella Harris hammered in a few for the Sharks as well. Destin led 21-16.  

The scoring went back and forth, but Destin finished on top 25-21. 

Destin's Reagan Palmer bumps a ball back over on the Rocky Bayou Knights in high school volleyball action Thursday night in Niceville.

In set four, Destin led most of the contest taking a 7-5 lead with Hannah Baxley at the service line. Elaine Wolford and Anna Carroll knocked in a couple for points as well. 

Down the stretch, the Sharks made a run with Carroll serving up four straight points for a 16-11 game. Rocky came roaring back, with the home crowd creating a roar of its own in the gym. The Knights put up three points for a 16-15 game. 

The scoring went back and forth with Rocky going up 24-21. Destin’s Carroll broke the serve, to pick up a point for the Sharks. Wolford served up a point and then missed, with Rocky taking the win. 

“I’m so proud of the girls beyond words. I’m super excited for growth in the year to come and see where this program goes,” Kennady said.