TWIN FALLS — The competition was fierce as always, but the players in Wednesday’s District 4 all-star volleyball game were just having a good time.
Well, except for when the officials made questionable calls – that can irk even the most composed player – but otherwise, it was all smiles.
There was no championship game, per se, but the Southwest squad came out with the only unblemished record. It’s hard to say the Southwest all-stars weren’t the favorite — highlighted by stars from the strong Lighthouse Christian and Twin Falls teams, the talent was stacked in their favor.
However, the Northeast team, with only two players from Shoshone who could boast a playoff run, gave the Southwest a run for its money in the final game. Both teams entered 2-0, and though the Northeast team managed to take a lead late in the set at 21-20, the Southwest team rallied to win 25-21.
All-North Side Conference player of the year Sabrina De Jong of Lighthouse Christian said her team knew each other pretty well beforehand, so it made their dynamic and energy a good fit.
“A lot of us played together in club, so we had a natural chemistry,” the senior said. “It was awesome to play with them again.”
Southwest coach Tobie Helman, also of Lighthouse Christian, helps coach that club team and said five of her eight players in the all-star game were part of that team.
“That was cool for me, being able to reunite with my club players,” she said. ”Some of them are going on to play in college, so it’s fun for them to have this night together.”
The games were also a chance for players to shift around: defenders became setters, setters became outside hitters. Helman said Kylie Baumert, a libero from Twin Falls, asked her to be on the front line. The senior delivered the winning kill against the Northeast.
“We had our rotation all screwed up,” Helman said, “but then Kylie ends the final game with this amazing kill. That was pretty cool.”
Some games were blowouts, like the Southwest’s 25-11 victory over tje Southeast, composed of Burley, Kimberly and Oakley. Others were thrillers, like the opening game between the Northwest and the Northeast.
At 23 points apiece, the teams rallied a point that would last nearly a minute – an eternity in volleyball time – with the Northeast coming out on top for the point and the set.
Wednesday’s match provided the seniors one more chance this fall to play a few pressure-free games. Baumert occasionally barked, “Hit it,” at her teams as they jumped to the ball. Minico setter Saydi Anderson laughed in disbelief as the ball caromed off of a ceiling post past her reach.
“The all-star game is always fun,” Helman said.