Lady Cyclones take down Sullivan Central; Win No. 24 earns Elizabethton region berth, championship match

Published 5:19 pm Wednesday, October 3, 2018

BLUFF CITY—In the early stages of Tuesday night’s semifinals against Sullivan Central, it seemed that the Lady Cyclones’ storm was slowly dissipating.
The Lady Cyclones, however, after losing the opening set, regrouped and surged to a 3-1 win over the Lady Cougars.
Providing Elizabethton’s lighting was junior Morgan Smith who connected for 16 kills as she fired shots down on Sullivan Central. Smith would also have two aces, 15 assists, and ten digs on the night.
“The turning point was after we lost the first set,” said Smith. “Usually, every time we have played Central, we have beaten them from the start, and lose some in the later sets of the match. Losing that first set really opened our eyes to that we needed to play harder because they were coming for us.
“We are dedicated and are ready to be here,” added. “We want to go as far as we can.”
With the win, the Lady Cyclones earned themselves their fourth straight berth into the Region 1-AA Tournament while also setting themselves up for a District 1-AA championship with No. 1 seed Sullivan South tonight at 7 p.m. Tuesday night’s win is also No. 24 on the season for the Lady Cyclones tying them for the most wins in a season in program history.
“I think we can do it if we play as hard as we can,” said Smith about playing South tonight. “There is a lot of pressure on them and not as much on us. I am just really excited to see what happens.”
Set 1 saw the Lady Cougars get an early lead as they topped EHS 25-23. The Lady Cyclones were still dragging in the early parts of the second set as Central worked out to a 13-8 lead. The Lady Cougars, with the Elizabethton on their tails, took an 18-16 lead before Lady Cyclone Kallista DePrimo smashed in a kill to make it a one-point set. Down 22-21, Elizabethton libero Deanna Hull had a clutch dig that extended a point which eventually lead to EHS tying things up at 22-22 following an attack error by Sullivan Central. The Lady Cyclones took the lead as EHS’s Mattie Davis landed a block to move her team ahead 23-22. Following back-to-back kills, the Lady Cougars regained the edge, 25-24, before the Lady Cyclones won the set 27-25 after a big kill from EHS’s Hannah Boster gave Elizabethton a set point.
“The comeback-from-behind win in that second set was the turning point,” said Elizabethton head coach Leslee Bradley. “We were as good as dead right there. We made some really good hustle plays, and we started playing with more energy at that point.”
Throughout the night, the Lady Cougars were productive in their attack as they hammered in kills, and the Lady Cyclones had to focus in and adjust to slow down the offensive onslaught.
“We have to hope they will have some miscues every now and then,” said Bradley. “They were really putting the balls in and making us play. We just had to do a better job of getting our blocks lined up, so we didn’t have as much backcourt to cover. Then it was just being determined to get a hand on the ball and put it up.”
The third set saw big kills from Elizabethton senior Sydney Goodsell, Smith and Boster as Elizabethton won 25-17 to move to 2-1 in the match.
In the final set, the Lady Cougars got a late lead before a kill from Macey Burleson, Davis and Goodsell helped Elizabethton tie things up at 21-21. The last point of the game came off a kill from Smith as Elizabethton took the fourth set 25-22.
Elizabethton Stats
Kills: Smith 16, Goodsell 15, Hannah Boster 8, Davis 3, DePrimo 3, Morelock 1, Burleson 1.
Aces: Goodsell 2, Smith 2, Hull 2.
Assists: Josie Lyons 25, Smith 15, Hull 2.
Digs: Goodsell 39, Hull 33, Smith 10, Lyons 10, Morelock 9, DePrimo 7, Boster 3, Davis 2.
Blocks: Boster 3, Smith 1.

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