Elizabethton downs pesty Longhorns

Published 8:41 am Thursday, September 27, 2018

It wasn’t as dominant as the Lady Cyclones wanted, but Elizabethton took a 3-0  victory over Johnson County Tuesday evening.

“He got ready to blow the whistle for the first serve, and we weren’t focused on the court yet,” said Elizabethton head coach Leslee Bradley.  “And we never got the focus that we needed. We made a lot of mistakes that were uncharacteristic of us in the third set. We did enough to score more points than they did, but it was sloppy on our side of the net.

“It is too late in the season for us to be playing like that,” added Bradley. “We can’t be satisfied with that. Even though it is a “W”, we have to make sure we are playing better volleyball and be more focused than that.”

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The win over Johnson County completes the Lady Cyclones sweep over the Longhorns and moves Elizabethton to 9-2 in the Three Rivers Conference. The Lady Cyclones locked in a second-place seed heading into next week’s District 1-AA Tournament at Sullivan East, while the Sullivan South Lady Rebels hold down first. Elizabethton will get one more regular-season crack at Sullivan South tonight as EHS hosts the Lady Rebels for senior night. South topped Elizabethton 3-0 during their last outing in Kingsport.

“South is still the measuring stick,” said Bradley.  “So you want to be playing your best volleyball at the end of the season. So we have the best team in the conference coming in here. We get to see where are at, and we also get to see where we will be at in the postseason.

“It is also fun to play against a good team,” continued Bradley. “We are going to be focused on Thursday night. I can promise you that. The girls love playing good volleyball. You have a big challenge with big swingers coming and big blockers coming.”

After making a substate game last season, the Lady Cyclones will be chomping at the bit to earn another chance at a state tournament berth, and the district tournament will be a major step towards that goal.

“We know that with second locked up that we are either going to face Johnson County or Chuckey-Doak Monday for that opening round,” said Bradley. “Johnson County just gave us a good game tonight, and Chuckey-Doak gave us a good match last week. With anybody in this conference, if you don’t show up to play, then you are going to be in trouble. So it is a tough conference night in and night out. And when it comes to the postseason you don’t get a second chance. We have to make sure we are ready to go.”

Tuesday night, the Lady Cyclones topped Johnson County, 25-14, in the first set. A kill and a block from EHS junior Hannah Boster sandwiched an ace by junior teammate Morgan as the Lady Cyclones took a 20-13 lead, before another ace from Smith moved the Lady Cyclones on out to 23-13 edge. Down the stretch, a kill from Kallista Deprimo allowed EHS to pick up the opening set and take a 1-0 lead.

In the second set, Smith hammered a kill into the corner to stake EHS to an 18-12 edge. The Lady Longhorns, however, rallied for four-straight points to get within 24-20 of the Lady Cyclones. Elizabethton’s Mattie Davis blasted in a kill to give her team a 25-20 win in set 2.

The Lady Longhorns pushed the issue in the third set as the teams went through numerous ties going down the stretch. After Johnson County took a 23-22 lead, the Lady Cyclones scored three straight points off a block and ace from Smith and a kill from Boster to take a 25-23 win in the final set.