Longhorns Hannah Brooks (28), left, Cassidy Lakatos, center and Taylor Cox, right, prepare to return serve during the Horns match against Thursday night at Sullivan East. Photo by Beth Cox

By Beth Cox
Sportswriter

The Lady Longhorn volleyball team traveled to Johnson City Monday to take on Providence Academy and proved just too much for the young team.
The win was a much-needed boost after losing a couple of conference matches a week earlier.
Coach Michele Cooke was happy for the wins, but feels her team gave Providence some easy points, “they gave us a good run for our money, but we pulled through.”
On Thursday, The Lady Longhorns visited Sullivan East. The girls struggled from the beginning to make something happen, but could not get things going. Sullivan East came out strong and had a couple of powerful hitters who got the Patriots ahead early in the match.
The Lady Horns just had a difficult time defensively against the Patriots. Cooke saw some things she liked but is well aware of the fact that her team must improve in some key areas.
“We have to improve our court IQ, and awareness so that the girls can anticipate and move their feet,” she said.
There is a considerable amount of talent on the JCHS team, and the coaches know what they are capable of and know they are not playing to their level of talent. Lack of communication continues to be a problem for this team. Cooke sees her players as a work in progress and knows it is a journey to October. Cooke added, “we are continuing to look at options to help minimize the number of errors and digging holes by doing things that are not smart.”
Cooke’s goal is to get strong, consistent play from each player every moment that she is on the court and said, “Every player is important, whether on the bench or the floor.”
The Lady Horns are playing hard throughout the match, but they must cover the floor better. East saw their weaknesses and capitalized on them, which gave them some quick and easy points.
The Lady Horns play the first home game against Unicoi. The Lady Longhorns encourage supporters to come out and cheer on the volleyball team.
Taylor Cox points out how important a strong fan base is to the team. “We go to these schools, and the student section is loud, which helps motivate the team. We need that at our school as well,” she said.
“It was so nice to see all the fans at Elizabethton, and I hope we will have even more people at the game on Tuesday.”
All the action starts at 4:30.