'Betsy downs 'Horns to advance

By Dallas Cook
STAR Staff

&nbsp  BLOUNTVILLE - As the Watauga Conference volleyball tournament got underway at Sullivan Central High School, the Elizabethton Lady Cyclones and the Lady Longhorns of Johnson County both hoped to keep their season going as they faced off in the first game of the tournament.
&nbsp  After battling it out in the regular season, the Cyclones and Longhorns hooked up again and with everything on the line, both squads looked to knock the other into the loser's bracket right from the start.
&nbsp  The Cyclones would be the victorious though, as they routed Johnson County in three sets by 15-1, 15-17 and 15-8 to advance and play the Sullivan North Lady Raiders.
&nbsp  "They made me really nervous," Elizabethton coach Leslee Bradley said of her Cyclones. "That was because Johnson County really stepped up. I still had complete confidence that we would win and that's because I knew my girls wanted it bad enough."
&nbsp  Elizabethton rolled over the Longhorns in the first match behind the play of Stephanie Cline. On the night Cline collected 23 kills while adding 14 service points to lead the Cyclones.
&nbsp  "I thought defensively we played well," Bradley said. "Offensively is where we struggled and made it a close match."
&nbsp  Sherry Aubrey and Beth Holtsclaw also contributed to Elizabethton's cause as Aubrey had 11 assist and Holtsclaw six kills.
&nbsp  "We really have to re-focus and play a different kind of defense," said Bradley. "We're just going to reset but still focus offensively on getting the ball in our setters hand's so we can be a more aggressive team."
&nbsp  For Johnson County Boney (18 digs), Payne (eight kills), Billings (three assist) and Owens (10 service points) were tops.
&nbsp  "We were not here at all in the first game," said Johnson County coach Michelle Cooke. "I haven't seen them (Longhorns) play that bad. They're is still hope but we have to come out and play like a team."
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Sullivan North defeated Elizabethton 15-4, 15-11
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In Elizabethton's second game of the evening the Cyclones gave it all they could, but a tough Sullivan North team ousted them by sets of 15-4 and 15-11.
&nbsp  "We came out real intense," said Sullivan North coach Vickie McGloughlin. "After that first game we started relaxing a little too much but we weren't looking ahead."
&nbsp  Michelle Collins was tops for the Cyclones as she collected 10 digs along with two kills. Teammates Aubrey (4 assist) and Cline (two kills) and Holtsclaw (four blocks) also added to Elizabethton's cause.
&nbsp  "I was still pretty pleased with our play during that loss," said coach Bradley. "We played hard we just couldn't figure out how to score points."
&nbsp  For the Lady Raiders Amanda Vanover (11 assist), Kim Doran (11 kills) and Amanda Frazier (five kills) all turned in good performances.
&nbsp  "The girls played well," coach McGloughlin said. "They served the ball well and they passed it well."
&nbsp  Elizabethton will face Volunteer today with game time set for 5:30 p.m. at Sullivan Central.
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Volunteer defeated Johnson County 15-9, 15-7
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In the final game of the evening the Lady Falcons ended the Longhorns season as they beat them in two sets of 15-9 and 15-7 to advance to tomorrow's tournament play.
&nbsp  "I think we started overlooking them (Johnson County) a little bit," Volunteer coach Tina Evans said. "They're a scrappy team but we finally started to get the aggression we needed."
&nbsp  Jessica Sandige led the way for the Falcons as she collected 27 assist while teammate Joy Debbs added 14 kills to help Volunteer to victory.
&nbsp  "Jessica (Sandige) is a consistent player for us," coach Evans said of her players. "She's a good server. Joy (Debbs) probably hit better tonight than I've ever seen her hit."
&nbsp  "We're going to have to rest up for tomorrow," said coach Evans. "You can't overlook anybody you just have to stay focused. I think it's the team that stays focused is who is going to come out of this loser's bracket."