EHS tripped by Unicoi in opener


star staff


  Before Thursday night the only time this sportswriter had ever heard the phrase "good dig" was after driving a pitch fork in the ground and came out with three nice, huge potatoes while working the in the garden.
  Seeing his first-ever volleyball match, this same sportswriter came away impressed with the effort given by both teams.
  Elizabethton dug down deep but came up empty handed, losing three straight games to Unicoi County in its season opener. The Blue Devils took the first game 25-18, won the second contest 25-16 and took the third tilt 23-15 for the Watauga Conference win.
  "We are so young this season we are having to speed time on the basics," stated Cyclone head coach Leslee Bradley. "Until we can learn these, it will hurt us when playing other teams."
  'Betsy jumped out to a 10-3 advantage in the first game behind the play of Michaela Pietrowski and Ashley Cline. Pietrowski drove two spikes into the Unicoi defense that would have made the famous railroad builder John Henry proud.
  Cline added three aces and two digs that helped the 'Betsy cause. After a timeout by Unicoi coach Ruth Ann Wilson, the Blue Devils when on a 15-3 run to take an 18-13 lead.
  Wilson, the legendary Unicoi Middle School girls basketball coach, hopes to have the same success with the high school volleyball program.
  "This is our first year of having a team," she said. "We are looking to be spoilers this year. My goal is that we can help these girls obtain volleyball scholarships in the future."
  The Devils finished off the first game behind the serving of Casey Banks.
  'Betsy tried to regain the advantage in the second contest but fell behind early. Katie Anders knocked down some key aces for Unicoi while Pietrowski, Cline and Katrina Moore stood out for the Cyclones. Behind a diving dig from Cline, Elizabethton closed the gap 12-11.
  Unicoi used the bullet serving of Miho Sekiguchi to finish off the game, in which Amanda Warner made two nice saves for Elizabethton.
  The Blue Devils cruised in the third contest. The Cyclone cut a 22-8 lead down to 23-15 but ran out of gas ending the match.
  Cline had eight aces and six digs for Elizabethton while Pietrowski added six kills and four digs to the cause. Katrina Moore chipped in with four kills.
  "This is going to be a good team down the road," added Bradley. "They are working hard and eager to learn. I think it will be sooner than next year that these girls will be good. The more experience they gain, the better they will be."
  Note: The Elizabethton JV was defeated 25-22 and 25-20. Ashley Cline had a good performance for the Cyclones.
  On a brighter note, the freshman team of Coach Emilee Berry lost the first match 25-9 before storming back to take the next two matches 25-22 and 15-7 to earn the win.
  Casey Smith and Sharaya Caraway gave top-notch efforts in leading the Cyclones to the win.