Lady 'Horns trip EHS

By Michelle Pope
STAR STAFF
mpope@starhq.com
The Elizabethton Lady Cyclones put up a good fight against last week's tournament runner-up Johnson County on Thursday evening. Johnson County took the win, but not without swallowing a number of Cyclone kills.
The teams' scores during the first set never ventured more than a few points ahead in either direction. Johnson County started out with the lead, but Elizabethton quickly tied the game at 12 points.
Three consecutive kills from Lady Longhorn Ryann Tillman gave Johnson County a five-point lead, but Elizabethton's turn to burn up the scoreboard wasn't far behind. Brandi Forbes made two kills to give the Lady Cyclones a boost, but the mere taste of near-victory wasn't enough for the Elizabethton girls.
The Cyclones proceeded to score five more consecutive points, bringing the score to a tie again at 21, thanks to two kills from Emilee Berry, another kill from Jennie Powell, and a service ace from Alison Parlier. Parlier had 100 percent serving, scoring 11 total points on serves alone.
"Six served really well for Elizabethton," said Lady Longhorn coach Michele Cooke. "It was a good game."
Elizabethton refused to let Johnson County take a huge jump ahead of them, and stayed within two points of the team the remainder of the match. Johnson County squeaked by with the first win, 25-23.
During the second match, the Lady Cyclones had a hard time returning Johnson County's forceful serves, and the ball went out of bounds too many times in the Longhorns' favor. Despite strong blocking from Brandi Forbes, and aggressive offense from Emilee Berry, the Lady Longhorns won the second set with a score of 25-11.
The third match was another close contest, and Elizabethton seemed like they would take the win at the end. Johnson County started out strong, scoring a quick eight points against Elizabethton's four, and continued to hold the lead throughout most of the match.
When Johnson County had 18 on the Lady Cyclones' 13, the Elizabethton girls made another five-point scoring run against the Longhorns. Jennie Powell gave the initial boost with a kill, and after two Johnson County points, the girls unleashed the scoring.
With a kill from Alicia Crawford and a double block from Berry and Trish McNeely, Elizabethton soon brought their score up to 19 against Johnson County's 21. After another Johnson County point, Berry smacked another kill down and Crawford served an ace, tying the game at a suspenseful 22.
Johnson County ended the suspense with three points in a row and won the match 25-22.
"It was a good match," Coach Cooke said. "We had our ebbs and flows. Elizabethton played well. Eleven played really strong for them."
Elizabethton coach Leslee Bradley knew that after the invitational, Johnson County would be a tough team to beat. "I was pleased," she said. "We played the ball well when we were set up. We let Johnson County take too many points. Johnson County played very well - I give them a lot of credit. They were a tough team, a complete team."
Alysa Billings led the Lady Longhorns in aces with 12, and made 20 assists. Ryann Tillman had 14 kills, while Laura Peters and Michele Hornsby led in digs, with 34 and 25.
Emilee Berry had seven kills for Elizabethton, and Alison Parlier scored on all eleven of her serves. Jennie Powell made ten digs and nine assists.