Lady Cyclones to try and build off athleticism

Asst. Sports Editor

  The Elizabethton Cyclone volleyball team is looking to improve this season, but it is a daunting task for a club with only one returning starter. Most of the girls have experience playing junior varsity and will have to pull from that experience to lead them through this season.
  "They are young but they are incredibly athletic," Cyclone head coach Leslee Bradley said. "They have a real good work ethic and we have been pushing each other hard in practice so far. Hopefully by the end of the season, we will be a good ball team."
  Ashley Cline, who is the team's returning starter, and Arielle Warner have both had three years of playing experience, but the rest of the team consists of either first or second-year players.
  "Ashley has taken the [leadership role] on herself," Bradley said. "The other girls can just understand. You can watch her and know that she is experienced at the game. So the other girls look up to her automatically. She has stepped into that role without me really having to say anything."
  Katrina Moore is another Cyclone who has learned to really perform, and who other players on the team look up to. Moore and Cline are the only two players who had any varsity time last year after losing eight seniors on the squad to graduation.
  "Katrina stood out as a natural leader this summer," Bradley said. Moore is one of the players who will be doing double duty on the varsity and junior varsity teams this year.
  Eight of the players went to camp this summer at Tennessee Tech to prepare for the upcoming season. All of the team has been practicing over the summer and conditioning for the season.
  "It was a great experience for the eight that went," she said about the trip to Tennessee Tech. "I have been preaching this year that we are going to develop you at the junior varsity level, where you belong, and next year we will be a good varsity team.
  "I really feel that by the end of the season we will be a real strong team just because of their work ethic. I expect to have a great junior varsity team this year because that is where their experience is.
  "I think we could finish fourth in the conference and still have a shot at the district tournament. Michaela Pietrowski is just a first-year player but she is extremely athletic and talented. She is going to make a big difference for us this year with her height and her playing basketball. She just bring a lot of athleticism to the team."
  "I think we communicate okay but there is definitely room for us to get better," Pietrowski said. "You are not going to get anywhere if you don't talk to each other."
  Amanda Ward will be one of the key setters for the team this year who Bradley says has an excellent work ethic and has been enthusiastic in practice.
  "I look for us to play really good," Cline said. "Hopefully this year we will have better teamwork. Our communication is getting better. The freshman came in and we didn't know anybody. I have to step up and get everybody together."
  "Some of the younger ones are encouraging me because I have more experience and stuff," Warner said. "I have to help them out thought because I do have that experience. I hope we have a good season because we have worked really hard. It is my last year. I want to make it the best. I am going to try my hardest."
  Moore is also very confident that the junior varsity team will be a definite conference contender this year.
  "I think we are going to have a really good season because we have a lot of returning jv players," she said. "I think that we have a good chance of being conference champs if we work hard enough. It will be a lot of hard work. We all get along well and try to help each other out on the court."
  Bradley will have Donna Townsend as her assistant coach and Emilee Berry will be coaching the freshman team this season.
  "She is a great coach," Warner said of Bradley. "She is always working with us and getting out there and playing with us."
  Although the girls varsity may have a tough climb in the conference this season, the squad is optimistic about this season and the seasons to come.