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JCHS volleyball team has what it takes to go far

Aubree Glenn, Aubrie Baird, Audrey Savery, Autumn Lewis, Autumn Shepherd, Bailey Townsend, Brookanna Hutchins, Faith Walsh, Harley Wykle, Kali Harry, Katie McCulloch, Kaydance Ward, Kayla Sluder, McKenzie Taylor, Peyton Gentry, Raven Turan, Ryleigh Icenhour, Sarah Arnold, Sarah Rider, Shawna Arnold, Sierra Green. Photos by Legacy Studios.

By Beth Cox
Sports Writer

It was an optimistic week for the Lady Longhorn volleyball team. The girls started the week with a solid win to Tri-Cities Christian then traveled down the mountain to Happy Valley, where they quickly overpowered the Warriors and called it a day. There were a few close calls, but that was merely a team being confident in the win and probably not playing with the same intensity as they would have with a more competitive team.

To Happy Valley’s credit, they have come a long way since beginning the program just a few short years ago. Coach Michele Cooke and Assistant Sarah Jennings were pleased with the team’s performance but quickly reminded the girls that Elizabethton was just around the corner. Elizabethton has already faced off with some tough competition against Greeneville High School and Science Hill, the Lady Cyclones were already down with two losses, so they came out Thursday night for a strong and quick victory against the Lady Longhorns.

The Lady Cyclones walked onto Atwood Court, confident they would overpower the Lady Longhorns. The Lady Longhorns were more confident with two wins under their belt, but Lady Cyclones were out to prove something with two losses at the beginning of their season.

The first game was handed to them by the Lady Longhorns. They made a lot of mistakes and weren’t working together as a team. Elizabethton seemed to know where to drop the ball, and the response by the Horns was slow to react with heavy feet on the floor. In the second and third games, the team was more in sync and was moving all over the court. It was a team that wanted to win.

Ryleigh Icenhour was strong at the net and the service line, with four aces and three kills, along with Brookanna Hutchins, were powerhouses on the front line. Libero Kayla Sluder did her job well, she was aggressive on the back row, and defensively, she was all in and fearless. Sluder returned some hard hits by the opposing team. She left it all on the court with eight digs and a 2.7 passing average.

Cooke’s response to her team’s loss was positive when she said, “the score didn’t represent how hard and how well these girls played tonight; they fought hard.”

The Lady Longhorns have both talent and motivation to get more wins than losses. It just comes down to working together and covering the area around the 10-foot line.