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JCHS Volleyball Team impressive in loss to powerhouse Sullivan East

Going up against one of the top Class AA Teams in the state, the JCHS Volleyball Team put up an outstanding fight last Tuesday night at Shoun Gym.
After getting drubbed 25-8 in game one, Sullivan East had to battle in games two and three before defeating the Lady Longhorns 25-15, 25-18 in the final two games to take the match.
However, games two and three were closer than the score indicated. JCHS put up a fight that everyone who was in attendance will remember for a long time.
Several service points from Ashley Arnold cut the Lady Patriot cushion down to three at 17-14 in game two as the Lady Longhorns were playing outstanding defense on what was a very hard hitting Sullivan East squad.
East pulled away late in game two, but the Patriots were having to earn their win.
“I see the improvement in the Johnson County Volleyball program by leaps and bounds,” Sullivan East head coach Julia Rafalowski said. “I told the girls that we couldn't take them lightly and it was not unexpected for them to come out and play like they did. They had a really good crowd and being at a home facility always helps, but it was expected for it to be tough tonight.”
Game three might have been a turning point for the JCHS program as the Lady Longhorns raced out to a 7-5 lead, in large part due to the play of Miranda Payne.
Payne came out with a huge block early and then a couple of points later she had a monster spike that was reminiscent of the Ryann Tillman years of the mid-2000s.
Later in game three, Haley Miller stepped to the fore with big block of her own against one of East's big hitters and at the point the Lady Longhorns led 14-11 and appeared on their way to taking a game off of the Three Rivers Conference elite team.
Experience took over in the final moments of the game and the Lady Patriots outscored JCHS 14-4 to end the game which included the final six points of the contest.
JCHS head coach Eric Crabtree had all good things to say about his girls after playing one of their best matches of the season.
“I told the girls that they played toe-to-toe with one of the best teams in the area and possibly in the state,” he said. “There's not a weakness on their team. First game we didn't play very well, but second and third game we were right there with them. We played toe-to-toe and I thought we were going to win the third game.
“I think it was a little nerves, a little experience, a little bit of wanting to win so bad you tighten up and they made some plays. We got a little tight in the last 10 points.”
JCHS didn't win very many points in is first meeting with the Lady Patriots back in August, but this time out the Lady Longhorns showed marked improvement.
“The first meeting was a train wreck,” Crabtree said. “They just throttled us. Tonight I thought it was going to be the same, but halfway through the first game we kind of hit our stride and got a little excitement about us. They just have a very good team.
“We've stressed that if you're going to go out, go out swinging. We've got to get past the point of playing not to lose. We're trying to get to point where we play to win and if we don't win we play as hard as we can. We didn't win, but we did play as hard as we could.”
JV Report
The JCHS JV Volleyball Team lost to Sullivan East 25-21, 25-21.
Freshmen Report
The JCHS Freshmen Team lost to Sullivan East by the same score of 25-21, 25-21.
JCHS will be hosting the JV Tournament on Oct. 6. The District Varsity Tournament begins on Oct. 11.