De Soto — It was a killer night for the De Soto High volleyball squad in an early season home quad against Seabury Academy, Atchison and Maranatha.
Senior Jackie Goleman propelled the Wildcats to a sweep of all three visiting teams. Goleman had 25 kills for the night - in just 44 attacks on net.
"Jackie is very talented - she comes from a background of playing a few years of club ball," De Soto assistant coach Justin Franklin said following a 2-0 (25-23, 25-20) victory in the Wildcats' final match of the night against Atchison. "She's still pretty raw, though. We're working on her with it, but she's got so much power to just give.
"But you can't just focus on one person. The whole team has got to be successful. If you have a person that does the powering, then (opponents) are going to clamp down on her and shut her down. But we've got other firepower coming out of all different angles."
Those other angles included Kayla Bader with 11 kills and Lisbeth Rosales with seven.
But the big thing for the Wildcats - who beat Maranatha, 2-0 (25-7, 25-9) - has been the more experienced players, such as team captains Goleman and Sydney Tenney, and their willingness to share their knowledge.
"Some of us haven't played club volleyball, and there is only three of us that have and we kind of take the leadership from that," Goleman said. "And they all kind of see that we know what to do - but not saying that we know everything. But we can help them, and they kind of embrace that."
While volleyball was the sport being played in the gym, rebounding was key for Seabury, after falling to De Soto 0-2 (25-7, 25-23) and Atchison 0-2 (25-10, 25-12) to start the quad.
"We're out of our league against them," Seabury coach Craig Friedrichsen said of both teams. "I knew that we'd have to get off the bus with our game in high gear because De Soto loves to schedule us first."
Seabury's Molly Thurman said it wasn't just that the team was overpowered, it was that they just didn't start in "high gear."
"We've always had problems - it seems like we don't come out with as much energy in the first game," Thurman said. "Then we usually tend to pick it up towards the end of the first game, beginning of the second game. And I think we just need to somehow figure out how to light that fire and get us started at the beginning of the first game, where it really counts."
The Seahawks rekindled the fire they had produced in their second game against De Soto just in time to face Maranatha.
Their 25-2 victory in the first game was anchored by their serving - Liz Hughes, in particular. Hughes served up 14 consecutive points - seven of them aces.
"That's how you beat a team like that - you stand back there and you hit serves," Friedrichsen said. "And Liz has made huge strides. Those 14 in, were more serves then she hit in her freshman year and probably more serves then she hit in her sophomore year. And here she is as a senior, she can sit back there and I just know she's going to snap through the ball and hit some really nice serves."
Maranatha pushed Seabury a little harder in the second game, but the Seahawks clinched the match with a 25-20 win.
The Seahawks will play host to their own quad on Thursday - against St. James Academy, Elwood and Flint Hills - with a request posed to them by Friedrichsen.
"I told my girls I want them to get five friends to come to the meet," the Seabury coach said. "I want that gym to get loud, because I know it's going to be a huge match when we face St. James."