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Ladies compete in Chattanooga tournament

The Unicoi County High School Lady Devil volleyball team was able to make strides during tournament play last week, according to head coach Frank Forsythe.
The Lady Blue Devils traveled to the Chattanooga area to compete in the Choo-Choo tournament and picked up a pair of victories against solid competition.
“It was a good trip,” Forsythe said. “The girls had a good time and overall, it was pretty successful. I wish it could have gone a little bit better, but I think we’re at the point of starting to turn a corner.”
UCHS opened up play on Friday, Sept. 4, and fell to perennial AAA powerhouse Ooltewah, but were able to rebound with victories over Livingston Academy (25-16, 25-22) and Knox Karns (25-19, 25-21) to earn a spot in the Gold Division on Saturday, Sept. 5.
“We made it in with the big dogs on the second day,” Forsythe said “We didn’t win, but I saw a lot of positives in the games that the score doesn’t really show.”
UCHS saw the likes of Oak Mountain, Cleveland, Bradley Central and Abingdon, Va., on the final night of action to conclude a week of 10 volleyball matches for the varsity team.
Junior Keelie Hall led the squad with 29 kills over the two-day event. Brooklyn Jones and Katelynn Bennett also tallied 14 kills, while Kenedy King added to 11 net four Lady Blue Devils in double-digit totals for scoring.
Savannah Lafever also added stability on the defensive side of things, averaging six digs per contest and wrapped up the tournament with a total of 42. Senior Ashlie Padgett totaled 31 to join Lafever and was also joined by double digit totals from Jessica McConnell (12) and Laura Rogers (10). Lafever also had the service aces going in her favor, leading the team with nine during the trip.
“It was a great bonding experience for the girls,” Forsythe said. “They stayed together, told stories and had a good experience out of it. We’re at 10 girls on varsity so that chemistry is closer. The younger girls are playing well, while our older girls are stepping up as leaders.”
Last week, UCHS hit road bumps with Three Rivers Conference action in losses to Sullivan East on Thursday, Sept. 3, and against Elizabethton on Tuesday, Sept. 1, but were able to haul in a solid non-conference victory over David Crockett on Monday, Aug. 31. The Lady Blue Devils took the contest 3-2 (25-19, 15-25, 25-18, 16-25 and 15-13). Hall and Jones combined for 19 kills in the victory. Lafever and Padgett also showed their worth on the defensive side of things with 11 and seven digs, respectively.
UCHS had a light week of work on tap for this week, traveling to Johnson County on Tuesday, Sept. 8, after The Erwin Record’s press deadline. The contest was the only game on the docket for the Lady Blue Devils.