BHS volleyball season comes to an end
The Baldwin High School volleyball team's season came to an end Saturday at the regional tournament with a two-game loss to Tonganoxie, 16-25 and 8-25. It was a merciful end to a long season for the Bulldogs, who had a disappointing season following last year's team that finished second at state.
Baldwin came into the tournament the seventh seed, pitting them against the second seed, Tonganoxie.
"In the Tonganoxie match, I thought there were some bright spots and also some bad things," said coach Jim Oatman. "We played pretty much the same we have all season. I noticed some nervousness in the second game, and it was pretty much over from there."
Most of Baldwin's problems this season were caused by the loss of two varsity players before the season and lack of experience at the varsity level. Only one player that saw varsity time on last season's squad returned to play this year.
Before accepting the head coaching job at Baldwin, Oatman coached volleyball at Chanute, where he amassed a 100-21 overall record over three years.
This season has been a tough adjustment for him, and also for the players and people surrounding the program that aren't used to coming up on the short end.
"It's been a tough year for me and the kids," said Oatman. "We aren't used to losing, so that's made it hard. I'm looking forward to next year, though. We have a lot of talent coming back. I think we should be better next year."
Oatman also named a few players that he thought contributed well throughout the year.
"Kelsey Heckathorne was probably our best all-around player," said Oatman. "She stepped up as our team leader on the court. Katie Krysztof, even though see didn't see a lot of playing time, gave us motivation with her presence. Bailey Stewart also was good this year hitting out of the middle, and Rebecca Verhaeghe also stepped up when she had to take over for an open spot."
Junior Jessica Hill summed up the feelings of the team.
"This past volleyball season was definitely a rebuilding year," said Hill. "I had a lot to learn about myself and the rest of my teammates. Even though we ended the season without a great record, I am really looking forward to next year because I know the team and I will bring back everything we took in this year and so much more."