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Slammin’ the gate on the Longhorns… Lady Cyclones shut down Johnson County 3-0 in TRC play

BY IVAN SANDERS
STAR SPORTS EDITOR
ivan.sanders@elizabethton.com
In sports, there is an old adage that it might not have all been pretty but a win is a win.
For the Lady Cyclones of Elizabethton, that couldn’t have been more true on Thursday evening as the Lady Cyclones were able to fight through several mental and execution mistakes but were able to take a 3-0 win over the visiting Lady Longhorns of Johnson County in Three River Conference play.
“We had a whole lot of unforced errors out there,” said Lady Cyclone head coach Leslee Bradley. “Volleyball is a game of timing and our timing just wasn’t there. We weren’t as crisp and as fresh as we needed to be. So we definitely made a lot of unforced errors.”
The first two sets of the match were extremely close as the Lady Cyclones had their hands full fending off a very good Johnson County team with EHS taking the first set 25-22 and the second one by a 25-23 score.
Elizabethton’s first two set wins seemed to take a little air out of the Lady ‘Horns sails as the Lady Cyclones salted the match away in the third set by a 25-11 score to take the win and go to 2-1 on the young season.
“Johnson County always plays scrappy,” said Bradley. “You have to work really hard to put the ball down on them because it’s coming back at you and you don’t know how it’s coming back at you.
“That kind of keeps you off-kilter all night. That messed up our timing a bit. Johnson County just plays hard. There were a lot of moments tonight that I just thought that they out-hustled us.
“We had a lot of power on our side and that ultimately won out but we weren’t crisp tonight.”
On defense, the Lady Cyclones were led by Jayci Bowers with 18 digs followed by Kallista DePrimo with 13. Brittany Kitchens contributed with nine digs while Makaiah Williams (6), Cheyenne Poiroux (6), Mattie Davis (5), Grace Martin (5), and Bailee VanHuss (2) also played a contributing role defensively.
Kitchens and Davis played strong at the net as they recorded ten and seven kills respectively. Anna Fontanez chipped in with five kills while DePrimo and Poiroux also collected four apiece.
Poiroux and Kitchens added three aces on serves as well.
One thing that was noticed during the contests were times of frustration on the Lady Cyclone side of the net. Bradley said that is part of the game that her young team must understand and adjust to.
“That’s the sport of volleyball,” she said. “You can’t play this game perfectly. It’s just one of games that the ball doesn’t bounce the way you want it to half the time.
“So you have to adjust to how to make it better and how to get over those mistakes when they happen. The next ball is coming 30 seconds later so you better be ready for it.”
The Lady Cyclones are hosting the Lady Cyclone Invitational this weekend and have ten hungry teams coming in looking for some great competition including Anderson County who ended the Lady Cyclones season last year in the sectional along with Science Hill and Daniel Boone.
“We will have six teams here and four teams at T.A. Dugger playing in the morning on Saturday. We will be playing some round-robin in the morning and then we will set up a tournament that starts at 3 pm in the afternoon,” Bradley said of the Invitational.
“The top-seeded teams will come down here to the high school in the gold tournament and the bottom-seeded teams will go up to T.A. Dugger and play in the silver tournament.
“We have the championship match scheduled for 5 pm.”