Showing good form, EHS girls defeat Huskies

By Matt Hill

   It was supposed to be a special night for the Elizabethton High School volleyball seniors, but it turned out that the whole team decided to throw a party.
   The Lady Cyclones came through bigtime Monday, defeating the North Greene Huskies 25-15, 25-16, 24-26, 25-17 on senior night at John Treadway Gym.
   "That was as well as we've played all season," EHS head coach Leslee Bradley. "I hope we can carry this on. They were so on top of their game tonight."
   If the score looks weird, that's because this game was played under college rules. The coach now has the option to do that, and Bradley took advantage of the new rules.
   "The state of Tennessee is the only state this year that is allowed to try it," Bradley said. "Generally things that they do at the international and college level eventually trickle down to us. We just wanted to try it just to see how it works, and I really like it. It's good that every rally is going to be a point. I like it a lot."
   It may have been senior night, but junior Michelle Collins came through big for the Lady Cyclones. She led Elizabethton with 13 kills and tied for the team lead in digs with 20.
   But the seniors did have a great night. Beth Holtsclaw finished with 6 kills, and had five service aces. Fellow senior Rachel Pierce finished with 20 digs to help the Cyclones cause.
   "It was wonderful, and we played like such a team," Holtsclaw said. "It was great."
   Elizabethton's contest Monday was sort of a revenge game. North Greene defeated the Lady Cyclones earlier in the season.
   "We were pumped up and ready to play," Holtsclaw said. "We wanted to prove that we could beat any team, and we beat North Greene and they beat us the last time. It was just awesome."
   The Lady Cyclones looked very sharp in the first two games, but the Lady Huskies shocked the home team in the third.
   "I think we started to get tired," Holtsclaw said. "We might have gotten a little ahead of ourselves, but we pulled it out in the fourth game."
   Pierce was also ecstatic about the victory.
   "This win is really huge for us because they beat us at their place, and we needed to win here and especially on senior night. It was a really great win because we needed it. We haven't had a very good season. We've been OK, but this really made it a lot better to win on senior night."
   The win was Elizabethton's fourth on the season, but Pierce believes this team has shown a lot of improvement over the last couple of years.
   "We have improved a lot," Pierce said. "We just can't put it all together, and we're getting to that point where we're putting it all together and we're doing a lot better."
   Bradley is not only proud of Holtsclaw and Pierce, but also Sheri Aubrey and Stefanie Cline, the four seniors on this Cyclone squad. They all have played key roles this season.
   "Beth has been a catalyst for us this year," Bradley said. "She actually sat out last year, but she has just stepped right in like she never missed a beat.
   "Rachel is probably our most consistent player. When Rachel touches the ball, we know where she's going to put it and what she's going to do with it. She's a leader.
   "Stefanie Cline is probably one of the hardest working players that I have. She goes 110 percent all the time. You always know with Stefanie you're going to get everything that she can give.
   "Sheri has been a team leader. There's a respect for Sheri as a person and as a volleyball player. Her teammates really look up to her for a lot of things, and she does a good job with that leadership."
   Bradley is hoping that these four seniors and the rest of her squad will be able to make some noise in next week's District 1-AA tournament.
   Bradley likes her team's chances, especially after watching Watauga Conference powerhouse Sullivan Central play North Greene in a match that preceded Elizabethton's.
   "Any team can beat any other team," Bradley said. "We expected Central to win it pretty easily this year, and after watching Central play tonight I think we can beat them. And there not the top team right now, Sullivan North is. We play both of them Tuesday, so we'll kind of see where they stand. But we just have to play hard.
   The matches with Central and North will be at Sullivan Central.