Lady Cyclones’ winning volleyball season comes to close

Published 2:35 pm Friday, October 16, 2015


by Bryce Phillips

Star Staff

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KNOXVILLE—After a long and historic run by the Lady Cyclones, the road finally came to an end Thursday night inside Knoxville Catholic High School.

Despite a valiant effort in game three, ’Betsy dropped the sectional matchup 3-0 to the Lady Irish. The Lady Cyclones, however, kept their heads up after a big year.

“It was one of the best seasons that I have ever had,” EHS senior Rikki Wagner said Thursday evening. “It was really amazing. I am still kind of in shock that we were able to make it this far. It is just great being the first ones to do it.”

The Lady Irish got things rolling early in game one as they climbed out to a 9-3 lead before EHS’ Chloe Hambrick connected a kill to close the gap to 9-4. But the Lady Irish kept the pedal to the floor as they took game one 25-12.

In game two the Lady Cyclones played Knox Catholic a little closer, with Rachel Robinson scoring a point to help EHS tie things up at six. However, the Lady Irish found their rhythm as they pushed out to a 25-11 win.

In game three, the Lady Cyclones showed the Lady Irish how they made it to sectionals. In the last game of the night, EHS climbed out to an early, grabbing a 3-0 edge. The Irish fought back to tie things up at three. The game continued on, going back and forth, keeping the group of EHS faithfuls on the edge of their seats. After giving up an 11-7 lead, the Lady Cyclones kept on pushing as they knotted things up at 11.

The intensity of the match kept increasing. The EHS crowd went wild during a long point, during which the Lady Cyclones’ front line made big blocks to hold on and tie the game at 18. The action continued as the teams’ scores climbed into the 20s. With the thing locked at 21-21, EHS’ Madyson Smith blasted a kill to push the Lady Cyclones ahead 22-21. With the score 25-24, the Lady Cyclones found themselves one point away from winning game three. However, the Lady Irish persevered, winning game three 29-27, and guaranteeing themselves a spot at the TSSAA State Volleyball Tournament for the second year in a row.

“We are excited,” Catholic Coach Brent Carter said. “We had five steps that we wanted to cross over this year and this was number four.

“Elizabethton was a fantastic defensive team and they did not take it easy on us,” Carter added.

EHS head coach Leslee Bradley could not be any happier with how her Lady Cyclones performed in game three.

“We finally found our fight in the third game,” Bradley said. “We handled this big stage better than we did when we played Sullivan South Tuesday.

“It took us a while to start believing in ourselves, but when that third game came around we were playing our style of volleyball.”

The Lady Cyclones were led in kills by Rachel Robinson who fired off six kills. She was followed up by Hambrick who recorded five, while both Sydney Goodsell and Madyson Smith had four. Robinson finished the night with ten assists, while Smith provided eight. Smith also had 15 digs for the night, while Mary Beth Biggs closed things out with 13.

Kamila Cieslik led the as she recorded 11 kills, one ace, and ten digs. Keilah Carter had four kills and seven aces.

With the season in the books, Wagner was able to look back and tell what made this year’s Lady Cyclones special.

“We work really well as a team,” she said. “We never really got mad at each other. If someone messed up we just went to the middle told them it was ok. We just kept encouraging each other and  just kept fighting.”