JCHS Lady Longhorns celebrate after winning one of four games against Unicoi Blue Devils last week. Photo by Beth Cox

By Beth Cox
Sports Writer

The JCHS volleyball team had an interesting week in play-action as they took on the Unicoi Blue Devils at home Tuesday and then traveled to Sullivan South on Thursday.
The volleyball program is still “under construction” as the team continues to find what works best on the court.
Coach Michele Cook, to her credit, continues to try to find the right strategic fit for her team as they move forward.
The Lady Longhorns seemed pumped and ready to take on the Blue Devils on their turf Tuesday; it was the first home game of the season, so the girls were prepared to show up for the hometown fans.
Unfortunately, while Unicoi came out strong, Johnson County could not make the needed connections to get ahead.
Frustration seemed to take over in the first two games, and it appeared the Blue Devils would easily defeat the Lady Horns. The third game was much better as the hometown team rallied around each other and played well.
The third game belonged to the Lady Longhorns. Going into the fourth, the Lady Horns had the momentum on their side, but the Blue Devils would not be counted out and played an aggressive match that would eventually leave the Lady Horns with another conference loss.
The week continued as Johnson County was on the road again to Sullivan county to take on the top-ranked Lady Rebels.
Still licking their wounds from the loss to Unicoi, and now faced with one of the toughest teams in the conference, Johnson County clearly felt the pressure going into the match.
The negative thoughts and feelings of previous matches quickly disappeared and were replaced with a robust, aggressive team that has not been seen since the first game of the season against Elizabethton. The ‘Horns played like they had something to prove. The backcourt coverage by Hannah Brooks and Sydney Souder was a game-changer. Brooks had fourteen digs and Souder ten. The front row was able to utilize some key plays from Brooks and Souder’s digs.
With strong communication and teamwork by Cassidy Lakatos and Taylor Cox, the team was ready to fire back at South with a strong net game as well. Taylor Cox led the team with kills (6) followed by Souder (4) and Rhiannon Icenhour (4).
Icenhour was also a key player in blocking some of the hard hits from South. The score showed South getting the win, but if the JCHS varsity team continues to play the level of intensity shown against the Lady Rebels, they will turn their program around with more wins in their column.
The Lady Longhorns traveled to Chuckey Doak on Tuesday and back at home Thursday.