The trio of seniors for the Unicoi County High School Lady Devil volleyball team Bethany Gibson, Carrie Whitson and Greta Monten were honored before the varsity contest against Elizabethton on Thursday, Sept. 27, at the Devils Den.
Following the festivities, the Lady Devils (6-9, 2-5) avenged an earlier loss to the Lady Cyclones with a three set victory (26-24, 25-23 and 25-18) in the highly-anticipated rematch between the Three Rivers Conference foes.
Both teams met nearly a month ago in Elizabethton, where the Lady Cyclones dispatched of coach Holly Perdue's squad in a close, five set match.
“Our biggest thing was focusing on playing our type of game and trying not to focus too much on what's going on the other side of the court,” Perdue said of Thursdays match. “Elizabethton has some really big hitters, and I just told my blockers to pick their right moments.
The Lady Devils currently sit in fourth place in the Three Rivers Conference with the District 1-AA tournament right around the bend. Elizabethton currently holds the third place spot after knocking off Johnson County in their season series, while the Lady Devils split the games against the Lady Longhorns.
It was just Unicois night, Elizabethton coach Leslee Bradley said. Unicoi played with a lot of heart tonight and there were crucial moments during the game where they just made their plays and kept the ball off the ground.
Elizabethtons sophomore middle hitter, Megan Pietrowski, kept the Cyclones in the game late with key kills and blocks in the second set. Hannah Hulschut and Abbi Pierce also had solid nights on the court for Bradleys squad.
Summer Reece popped in a pair of aces to give Elizabethton some bright spots of offense.
In the third set the Lady Cyclones and Lady Devils battled back and forth to reach a 13-13 tie.
UCHS then went on a 12-5 rally, getting in kills from Whitson and sophomore Destinie Hayes, to give Perdue her first win over Elizabethton for the season. Whitson spearhead the rally late in the third set by accounting for the Lady Devils final four points.
Elizabethtons junior varsity team took the first set of their match (25-20) against UCHS, but the Lady Devils would wrap up the final two sets (25-22, 16-14) to get the win. Unicois freshman team swept Elizabethton in two sets to kick off the night.
The Lady Devils are scheduled to travel to Sullivan East on Tuesday, Oct. 2. The junior varsity will play its District 1-AA Tournament on Thursday, Oct. 4, at UCHS.
By Curtis Carden