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Lady Cyclones volleyball looks to move beyond sectional

BY ALLEN LAMOUNTAIN
STAR CORRESPONDENT
In 2019 the Elizabethton Lady Cyclones volleyball team tied a school record with 24 wins and made a trip to the sectional round of the TSSAA playoffs. This season they look to go beyond that and make a state appearance.
Head coach Leslee Bradley – in her silver anniversary season, 25 years – has a young squad with just two seniors but she knows her young team is capable of a good run.
“I only have two seniors and two juniors,” Bradley said. “But the young kids can play. It was a good year to bring in a good freshman class.
“Both of my seniors have been starters since their sophomore years so they have good experience. Our major strikers are Brittany Kitchens and Mattie Davis. They are two big hitters that can put the ball down on the other side.”
The varsity squad will consist of seniors Kitchens and Kallista DePrimo along with juniors Davis and Anna Fontanez, sophomores Jaci Bowers, Grace Martin, and Cheyenne Poiroux, and freshmen Karie Merritt, Bailee Van Huss and Makaiah Williams.
“I am very excited about this season,” Kitchens said. “I think if we can communicate better we can be set for the whole season. It helps that we have a strong JV team that we practice against and they provide a good challenge.
“Every team is getting a late start to the season so I don’t think it gives anyone an advantage.”
In 2019 the Cyclones had eight sweeps of their matches including 2-0 matches against Greeneville and Morristown East and a three-set sweep of Sullivan East – normally a very tough out.
In the district tournament the Cyclones defeated Chuckey-Doak 3-0, and Sullivan Central 3-1 before a 3-0 loss in the district final against Sullivan South.
EHS played at Sullivan South in the AA semifinal and defeated Seymour 3-0 before falling on the road in the sectional to Anderson County 3-0.
“South won the conference and they are still the team to beat this year,” Bradley said. “ I think Central will be a top contender as well, but our feeder program has been tremendous the past few years and it has helped us keep pace with the top teams.
“We are all hopeful to get a full season in and get as many matches in as we can. It has felt good all summer and the girls have worked hard.”
EHS’ junior varsity squad consists of sophomores Emily Barnette, Graclyn Burkett, Kylah Duffield, Gracie Shaw, and Amaya Watson along with freshmen Krisalyn Elliott, Gracie Kirsch, Marley Lewis, Maylie Stout, Mackenzie Thompson, and Kennadee Williams.
“I think we have a very talented team,” DePrimo said. “I am excited to play and help the young kids to grow with the program and as seniors, we need to help a lot with that.
“We just need to get out there and play the way we know how and things will go the way we hope they will and we’ll reach our goal.”