Earning a trip to the sectionals… Lady Cyclones return to sectionals, drop region final to South

Published 11:49 pm Wednesday, October 16, 2019

KINGSPORT- The only thing that would have made Tuesday night’s regional tournament played at Sullivan South High School sweeter for the Elizabethton Lady Cyclones would have been taking the region title over their arch-rivals and staying at home for the sectionals on Thursday night.
After disposing of Seymour in the region semi-final earlier in the evening, 3-0, the Lady Cyclones brought a swagger and aggressive play to the court against the Lady Rebels of South in the final before falling 3-0 in a match that was closer than the set result indicated.
Region Semifinal 
Playing against Region 2 champion Seymour, the Lady Cyclones were not to be denied as All-Region selection Kaitlin Bailey played arguably her best volleyball to date as she dominated at the net, with her serve, and dinking the ball where Seymour had no chance of returning as Elizabethton won the match in straight sets –  25-15, 25-15, and 25-12.
Bailey had double-digit kills with 10 while hitting seven service aces on 17 attempts. She also had two defensive digs in the match.
Bailey wasn’t the only one that had a strong performance in the match as Morgan Smith and Whitley Maupin collected eight and seven kills respectively while each player added a dozen defensive digs apiece.
Brittany Kitchens added six-strong kills to go along with her 18 digs in the match. Libro Deanna Hull played solidly as well accounting for 20 digs in the win.
As a team, the Lady Cyclones accounted for 14 service aces with Josie Lyons collecting four to go along with Bailey’s seven. Kitchens added two and Smith one.
The win assured the Lady Cyclones of their sectional berth on Thursday heading into the final match of the region tournament.
Region Final 
The Lady Cyclones came out and made South work for every point they got in their match but came up just a play or two short in each set as South used their home-court and crowd advantage to slip past Elizabethton in straight sets, 3-0.
It wasn’t as easy as the score indicated as the Lady Cyclones were zoned in and playing some great team volleyball throughout the match and letting South know it wasn’t going to be a cakewalk to the title.
South squeaked out the first set 25-23 before taking sets two and three by 25-21 and 25-18 scores.
Senior Morgan Smith led the way in the match with nine kills and eight digs while senior Hannah Boster added six kills and two digs. 
Kaitlin Bailey and Mattie Davis also collected five kills apiece.
Deanna Hull played well on the defensive side recording 18 digs while Josie Lyons picked up 11.
Smith and Bailey were named to the All-Region team. The Lady Cyclones will travel to Anderson County on Thursday for a 7 pm showdown with the Lady Mavericks. The winner will advance to the state volleyball tournament next week.
“We really didn’t know a lot about Seymour coming in but we have a lot of confidence about ourselves right now,” head coach Leslee Bradley said of her team’s sectional qualifier. “We know that we can play good volleyball so no matter what Seymour brought at us we knew that we were going to have an answer for it.
“We love each other and we love the game so it’s easy to put smiles on the faces and go out there and play for each other.”
Bradley went on to say about the South match,” The first two sets were just incredible volleyball and it was just South playing the game a little bit cleaner than we played. They gave themselves a little better opportunities than we did for us.
“We made South play great volleyball tonight and they were able to step up and do that.”
South will be hosting Knox Gibbs also on Thursday.

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