By Tim Chambers
Johnson County’s ability to play league kingpin Elizabethton close last week on their home court is a good indication that volleyball is on the right track back in 2020. Head coach Michelle Cooke was pleased with the way her team played and felt like they could have won the first two matches. Cooke believes her team will continue to improve and compete more at a higher level each game.
“I believe that people will start to take more notice of us as the season progresses because the girls are resilient and willing to work hard,” Cooke said. “They have a great attitude, and they have a willingness to learn. That appears to be their strongest points as a team.”
The team is young in ways and does not have many seniors on the squad.Rhiannon Icenhour and Cassidy Lakatos are two seniors that bring a lot to the table, and Maddie Eddington is another senior who is very athletic and talented on the court. They are the only three seniors.
“Maddie didn’t play last year, so it’s good to have her back,” Cooke said. “She’s a four-year softball player, so she definitely knows how to compete on the floor. All our kids have a lot of heart which speaks strongly about their willingness to win. I’m excited about the way they performed so far.”
Cooke also mentioned Katie McCulloch has played well in the games so far, and so has sophomore Ruleigh Icenhour. She and Katie are our middle. Bailey Townsend and Sarah Rider, who hope to contribute in reserve roles,
will round out the varsity roster.
Kali Hari is another player who Cooke feels is playing well along with Lizzy Barnes and Sarah Rider. She Kayla Sluder is a sophomore who played well at Elizabethton after being called up for varsity duty to fill in for Raven Duran, who was absent.
The Lady Longhorns will travel to Happy Valley on Monday before returning home on Tuesday to play Sullivan East in a freshman, junior varsity, and varsity match, which begins at 4:30 pm.