North downs 'Betsy

By Rebecca Pierson
Asst. Sports Editor
rpierson@starhq.com

  KINGSPORT--The Sullivan North Lady Golden Raiders (21-11) shut out the Elizabethton Lady Cyclones (2-28) in both the varsity and junior varsity matchups last night at North.
  The junior varsity team lost the first game 25-17, but came back hard in the second. It was tied 18-18 but after a few errors on both teams and a block and ace from Elizabethton's Michaela Pietrowski, the team took the lead at 24-22 but the Jr. Lady Raiders capitalized on Cyclone errors to take the game at 28-26.
  The varsity game was full of emotion for the Raider team as the eight seniors in the squad were honored on senior night.
  They capitalized on their honors and took down Elizabethton 25-6, 25-10 in the first two games.
  "We played our hardest in the third game," Cyclone junior Heather Simpson said. "I think in that third game we played our best. Each game we are getting better and better. We talked a lot more in the third game. It is getting better and better as it goes."
  The third game would be much more of a challenge.
  "It was like we were asleep those first game then we woke back up," Cyclone freshman Whitney Forbes said. "I like blocking but I'm a little slow. It takes me a minute. Without them [the team] going good, I would get anywhere. One person can't win anything. Coach Bradley helps me a lot."
  The Lady Cyclones went down 8-5 when Kayla Hale served up an ace, but her second serve didn't make it over the net. Then the team capitalized on an error and a block from freshman Whitney Forbes to tie it up, 8-8.
  The score would stay close at 16-15 when North had a bad serve to tie it back up. But then they made some good kills and forced some errors to gain a 20-16 lead.
  Forbes would have another block that the Lady Raiders simply couldn't return. A North bad serve and a kill from Ashley Cline kept the Lady Cyclones in the game at 23-19.
  North would have an error and then Katrina Moore would serve up an ace for a 24-21 score. Cline would slam another kill and the Raiders would have another error for a tight 24-23 score.
  But then the Lady Raiders forced another error off a block to take the game at 25-23.
  "It was a good third game," Cyclone head coach Leslee Bradley said. "They finally started looking alive a little bit out there. For some reason at this point, they are not willing to give it the effort that it takes. In the third game a few things went right for us, and so they decided that maybe it was worth the effort."
  Katrina Moore led the Lady Cyclone team in assists with 21 and Simpson had 15. Cline sent back 16 serve receives through three games and totalled 18 digs. Pietrowski paced the team with 11 attacks, and Forbes led the blocking effort with 10.
  Bradley said: "It is really hard when you have had the season that we have had when we have only won a couple of matches, it is hard to overcome. They have to realize how young they are and that they are not just working for right now, we are working for the future. If they play every ball as hard as they can now, the future is going to be much brighter then if they just give up on the rest of this season.
  "North had eight seniors out there and were pumped up from senior night and they have played together for four years. The two seniors I have, I can't even say that about. We are young, we have not been together very long and it takes time to mesh as a team."
  The Lady Golden Raiders were topped by Arissa Vaughn with 19 assists, with Brittany Moore collecting 15 service points. Lindsey Vaughn led the team in kills with nine and Shyan Redmond had seven kills.
  "I have a very senior-oriented team," North head coach Vicki McGlothlin. "Most of them have even played club ball together. They pretty much know what each other is doing. They are having a great season. I was concerned about it tonight being so emotional. They came out ready to play. It had been a dream of my back-row people to play the front, and my front-row people to play the back. I gave them the opportunity to do that in the third game. This was their night."