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Learn from the past, improve for the future

Coach Michele Cooke and Rhiannon Icenhour discussing strategies. Photos by Beth Cox.
Izzy Furches would come off the bench and played well for the Johnson County Longhorns.

By Beth Cox
Sports Writer

The 2019 JCHS volleyball team set out on a mission to prove they can take on the top teams of the 1-AA and win the conference.
By all accounts, they had plenty of gifted athletes that could have taken the team past the district tournament.
With seven seniors, who for the most part have played together throughout their high school career, were motivated to show off their volleyball skills and win some games.
Johnson County Athletic Director, Austin Atwood, also hired two coaches with a long history in volleyball. Michele Cooke returned to coaching after being away for over ten years. Assistant Volleyball Coach Sarah Swift was the assistant coach when the seniors were freshmen, so the history with the team and coach should have worked in their favor.
The Lady Longhorns started strong going in their
first game with Elizabethton. It was a powerful game
and showed not only the athleticism of this team but
also the volleyball skills
that left fans hopeful for a promising season. However, as the season continued the consistency of top-notch play was not there. Communication is key to success, and sadly, it lacked on this team.
The mental game of
volleyball continued to
haunt this program throughout the season. The Lady Horns lost to some good teams where the win could have gone either way,
while other matches were lost as the girls beat themselves.
Johnson County was much better at the net this year. The blocking ability of Emily Garr and Rhiannon Icenhour was one of the best parts of watching this team perform along with some great saves by Taylor Cox.
Next season is promising to be an excellent year
for the volleyball team.
Rhiannon Icenhour and Cassidy Lakatos will start the pack off, Icenhour as a
strong hitter and Lakatos as setter.
Katie McCulloch and McKenzie Taylor will be assets to the team as well. The two young ladies showed a strong foundation that will continue to improve. The JV team and freshmen teams had a good season. Cooke will be able to utilize the talents from these teams next year, as well. Ryleigh Icenhour will play well by sister Rhiannon at the net as both blocker and hitter. Peyton Gentry and Kayla Sluder will also be wonderful contributors to the game next
year. Communication, continual movement, and consistent serves will be the key to success for next year’s team.