Volleyball jamboree hosts twelve teams

By Marvin Birchfield
The high school area volleyball jamboree and media night took place at Milligan College on Monday, as several of the top regional teams get a look at what the season might hold.
A total of twelve schools competed in this year's event with teams ranging from as far east as Johnson County to as far west as Hawkins County.
"This is the second year that Milligan has hosted it, and it gives everyone a chance to see the girls at the high school level play, and I really enjoy watching them," said Milligan College coach Kim Hyatt.
Not only does it give the high school students an early glimpse of the college atmosphere, but it also creates an opportunity for local universities to get an idea of who might be one of their next prospects.
"These girls work as hard as anybody, so it's great to see all the people that come out and support them, but most of all we just want them to have a good time," said Hyatt.
"We have several colleges here tonight and others who have called about it, so it gives a chance for them to look at all the players and talk to the parents."
The Elizabethton Cyclones was one of the teams that did battle inside of Steve Lacy field house, as coach Leslee Bradley seemed to be pleased with their performance.
"It is just a jamboree so it's a laxed enviroment, and we were a little scattered brain at first, but they finally came together toward the end, settling down and started playing," said Bradley.
The Cyclones were a little slow at first, but seem to get stronger with the more time spent on the floor.
"The first time they were out there in their uniforms they feel kind of important, but once they settled down they played real well and did a good job playing together," said Bradley.
Elizabethton had few mistakes when it came to serving and reaction on defense seemed to be good.
"Our defense did real well, for we were able to pick up on what the other team threw at us, and we also did a good job with serving the ball," said Bradley. "We've talked about how important the serve is this year, for if you put it in the net then it's a point for the other team."
The one thing that the Cyclones felt like they needed to improve on was passing the ball off the serve.
"I felt like we didn't pass the ball well when the other team served, and that is something that I plan to work on," said Bradley. "It is something that I hoped would have gone away, but overall I'm pleased and we'll work on it."
Another one of the local teams trying to make an impact on the scene this year is the Johnson County Longhorns, who look to improve from their third place finish last season.
"We did OK, and we hit better today than what we have been, but we still had our moments where they got down on themselves," said Johnson County coach Michele Cooke. "They are doing better as far as picking themselves up and playing hard, so I think we did all right."
The Longhorn roster is filled with mostly underclassmen, and they seemed to be on the right track in the jamboree play.
"Ryann Tillman had a much better day in hitting and blocking, and also Ashley Howard did better with hitting than what she has been," said Cooke.
Although Johnson County has high expectation on a good season, the reality for them this year is just to be competitive and give a good showing.
"We just want to be able to compete well with others in our conference this season," said Cooke.
This wasn't the Longhorns' first time out on the floor thus far, so a slight sign of improvement was visible for them.
"We had already came down here to Milligan when they had a camp where we scrimmaged, and also this past Saturday we were at Carson-Newman playing," said Cooke. "They played together better as a team today and I'm really proud of that, but we still have a long way to go."