Lady Cyclones have room for optimism

By Marvin Birchfield
STAR STAFF
mbirchfield@starhq.com
The Elizabethton Cyclone Volleyball team has the intentions of turning a disappointing season from last year into a prominent outcome, with the help of senior leadership.
This season's Cyclone squad consists of 11 seniors, two sophomores and one freshman, which should enable them to have a more productive year.
"Our expectations are high because we have 11 seniors on the roster, and four of them are returning starters," said Elizabethton coach Leslee Bradley.
The Cyclones were not where they wanted to be a year ago, but with all the maturity they have this season they have a chance to be a contender toward the front.
"We still see room for improvement, but to work this hard and be able to see that, then our confidence is high. We think we'll get better all year long," said Bradley.
Elizabethton has more height than what it has had in the past, and its ability to serve has vastly improved.
"I think we'll be a good serving team and strong at the net because this is the tallest team I've ever had which has good timing, so serving and blocking should be our two strongest suits," said Bradley.
Senior Emilee Berry has improved her game by making a harder hit on the ball, and she's a real important key on how the Cyclones will fare throughout the year.
"Emilee has played varsity since her sophomore year, and she's hitting the ball real hard this year -- and as long as we can run our offense, then she's going to lead," said Bradley.
Berry is excited heading into her last year. She thinks her team's chances are looking good in the conference.
"We're an older team, so we're expecting to win more games than what we ever have before," said Berry. "I think I'm hitting the ball better this year, so I hope we can get some more kills, and also come up with some digs."
Rachel Osborne is another player, who coach Bradley has saw improved over the past year, expected to make an impact.
"We've been doing a lot of agility stuff, and spending plenty of time on our foot work," said Osborne. "I think we'll be good this year. We're all starting to come together."
The tallest player on the Cyclone roster is Brandi Forbes at 6-0, and her height should give Elizabethton an advantage around the net.
"I don't think we'll finish in first place, but hopefully we'll be able to win at least half of our games," said Forbes. "We went to camp this year at Milligan and they showed us a lot, so I think it will show because we've worked so hard."
Senior setter Jennie Powell will help lead the way, as she feels like in order to have success then you must get along well with your teammates.
"We've been working on all the aspects of the game, and we've been doing a lot of bonding so I think that will help us get it together," said Powell. "I think we'll do a lot better this season, and hopefully we'll make it past district, regional, and onto state, maybe."
By having to win the best three out of five sets this season, the conditioning factor shouldn't be a problem for the Cyclones.
"We've tried to condition more than what we have in the past, and the games are going to take a little longer, but we'll still be standing," said Bradley. "We've worked on everything this year, and have become nit picky. If there is something little we can fix, then we're going to fix it."