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Lady Devils end regular volleyball season

The Lady Devils finished their last week against South Greene at the Devils Den on Monday, Oct. 3, and it would be the final game for four of the girls at Unicoi County High School.
Coach Junia Gindlesperger’s young volleyball team was led this year by a group of four seniors. One of those seniors, outside-hitter Alex Lamaa, explained it just isn’t all about the wins on the hardwood.
“This season has definitely had its ups and downs,” Lamaa explained. “Sometimes it was really hard with the games and practices. I learned a lot about myself and about the other girls on the team. They all mean so much to me and I honestly could not have made it without them. I guess you do not really realize what you have until it's over.”
The girls have played the role of under-dogs, coming away with near upsets against perennial powerhouse schools within the conference, Sullivan East and Sullivan North.
“Throughout my three years of playing i have made many friends and learned how to play a sport I have never played before,” explained Lady Devil libero, Mercedes Wright, who proved to be a key cog defensively for the Devils during each game. “This season we really came together as a team, but in my eyes we were more than a team, we were a family. The biggest thing I want to take from playing at UCHS is the memories, because you can win or lose a game and forget all about it, but the memories you make while playing last forever. To me it lasted forever but ended so soon.”
Wright wasn’t the only senior to mention the word “family” when talking about the 2011 volleyball squad.
“I have made so many fun memories playing volleyball these past three years,” Emmie Thompson stated. “I will never forget any of them. We are not just a team, but we are a family and we stick together through everything. We have grown as a team and as individual players over the years.”
The family of Lady Devils traveled on the road to Sullivan North to wrap up the season after senior night, and would fall short in a three-set game that would prepare them for the district tournament action to be held on Tuesday, Oct. 11. in Bluff City at Sullivan East High School.
Carrie Whitson and Bethany Gibson are the only two juniors on the squad with the rest of the team comprised of underclassmen.
The seniors want to be sure to leave some parting words to their girls.
“We have come a long way over the last four years as a team,” Sarah Lingerfelt said. “This year we have actually been a team that stuck together and overcame our differences. I love my volleyball girls and wish them the best of luck in the future. As long as they keep their heads up and not let anything come in the way of them achieving their goals they will be unstoppable.”
As for the young girls on the team, coach Gindlesperger knows her special senior class has had an impact on the young girls on the team.
“The girls said the upperclassmen have helped them,” she explained. “By being a positive influence and by being a constant encouraging force throughout this season.”
The four seniors, Lamaa, Lingerfelt, Thompson and Wright, have placed the foundation for the upcoming volleyball girls, thanks in part to a couple of words learned during the tenure as Lady Devils.
“Determination and hardwork,” Lamaa replied when asked about the key things learned during her time as a Lady Devil.
“But the great memories and close friends I made over the years are something I will keep with me forever. So despite the running, sweat and long days, I wouldn’t take it back for anything,” she said.
The UCHS Lady Devil squad will be in action at 6 p.m. at Sullivan East High School on Tuesday to face the Johnson County Lady Longhorns in the 4-5 game of the district tournament.
The girls have split their series throughout the season, with the Lady Devils winning their home game against Johnson County.