Dawnell Haupt’s vision for Kossuth volleyball has quickly become realized.

The second-year head coach has remade the Lady Aggies in her own image, which means they resemble the teams Haupt used to coach in Arizona: well-balanced, methodical and selfless.

In just her second year at the helm, Haupt has led Kossuth to a 23-4 record, the Division 1-3A title, and a berth in the playoffs.

The Lady Aggies host Yazoo County in a first-round game tonight.

“From when I started last year to here is an entirely different team,” Haupt said. “I bring a different coaching style, a very different kind of game plan. They had to buy into the process, and they all have bought in.”

Haupt is an Arizona native and coached there for eight years before moving to Mississippi in 2018 for her day job as a rocket scientist. She fell in love with Kossuth and took the volleyball job when it opened last year.

She said the Lady Aggies are the hardest-working team she’s ever coached. They’ve embraced the fast but methodical style of play Haupt has been teaching and have developed a lot of depth.

“In the West, every team out there can hammer it at all three positions on the front row, and they can hammer it from the back row. So that forces you coach a team that’s an all-around team,” Haupt said. “That’s what makes us effective, is that we have a very well-balanced team.”

The stats bear that out. Kossuth has five players with 100-plus kills, led by Bailey Wilbanks’ 234. She also leads the team in digs (111), blocks (77) and aces (69).

Kossuth has 873 kills as a team – an average of 32.3 per match.

“Every team typically around here has one or two hitters, so you can focus on defending against those hitters, and if you shut them down, that effectively takes out their game plan,” said Haupt. “But I have six on the court at one time – everybody on that court can hit.”

Macadyn Holley leads the Lady Aggies in assists with 307, while Emma Arthur has 270. Corinth transfer Anne Greene has 105 digs and 67 aces, and she leads the defensive effort along with Bella Duncan.

When asked in what areas her players have improved the most from last year to this year, Haupt said they’ve improved in every facet of the game. And they’re only getting better.

“In my mind, we have yet to peak, which is a very good position to be in going into the playoffs.”

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