By Keeli Parkey
The Unicoi County High School freshman volleyball team were the only winners against a Three Rivers Conference powerhouse last week.
On Thursday, Sept. 8, the squad bounced back from dropping the first game of the match to Sullivan South to win in three sets (12-25, 25-13, 15-13).
Hallee Casey and Karrie Clayton led the squad with six service points and two aces each, according to head coach LeAnn Lane. Casey and Kaitlin Bailey dominated the net with four kills each in the match. Ashton Vance added three for the Lady Devil offense.
On defense, Bailey had five digs, while Vance had four. Gabby Davis contributed three digs of her own.
“I am very proud of my freshman team for bouncing back after the first game to rally and win the match,” Lane said. “They showed much heart and determination and it paid off.”
The freshman team has a 6-2 overall record and are 5-0 in conference play.
The junior varsity and varsity matches belonged to South on Thursday.
The junior varsity Lady Devils lost in two sets (14-25, 18-25). The junior varsity squad is 11-6 overall and 5-2 in conference play this season.
The varsity squad lost in three sets (15-25, 22-25, 17-25). In this match, Rachel Lynch had 13 assists and Katelynn Bennett led the UCHS front line with seven kills. Keelie Hall and Jessica McConnell led the Lady Devil defense with 13 and 11 digs, respectively.
The varsity squad is now 5-11 overall this season and 3-4 in the conference.
“The JV and varsity matches were very disappointing,” Lane said. “After coming off of a positive note from the sweep on Tuesday against Providence, our hitting errors and communication killed us.”
There was a bright spot against South, the head coach said.
“Our serving game was outstanding,” Lane added. “Our goal is to only miss an average of 0-2 serves a game. Between both JV and varsity, in five games, we only missed a total of four serves.
“On the downside, our hitting was atrocious,” she continued. “We had a total of 30 kills in five games, but 22 errors. We’ve been working on hitting techniques, communicating to our hitters, and learning how to manage our swings. Unfortunately, we weren’t focused on that Tuesday and weren’t able to show off our hard work.”
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The Lady Devil volleyball program earned a sweep over Providence last week.
The freshmen team opened play on Tuesday, Sept. 6, with a victory in two sets (25-12, 25-13).
Blake Hall and Clayton led the team with six aces each, while Casey and Bailey chipped in three kills each.
The junior varsity also defeated Providence in two sets (25-13, 25-11).
Brooklynn Jones led the squad with five kills and five aces. Sarah Grace Larkey had a solid all-around performance with four aces, seven assists and four kills. Emma Kelly had four kills and Chloe Powers had three. Blake Hall had 10 assists.
The varsity team won their match in three sets (25-18, 25-18, 25-19).
Keelie Hall and Rachel Lynch led the way for the squad. Hall had her first double-double of the season with 11 kills and 11 digs. Lynch distributed 15 assists.
Bennett returned to form, according to Lane, with eight kills. Powers had a solid defensive performance with 11 digs; she also had four aces.
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The Lady Devils faced conference foe Sullivan East on Tuesday, Sept. 13, after The Erwin Record’s press deadline.
They are scheduled to host Sullivan North on Thursday, Sept. 15, with the freshmen opening play at 4:30 p.m., with junior varsity and varsity matches to follow.
The varsity team will return to Science Hill for the Mountain Empire Tournament on Saturday, Sept. 17.
The junior varsity and varsity teams are scheduled to travel to Chuckey-Doak on Monday, Sept. 19. All three teams are scheduled to travel to Elizabethton on Tuesday, Sept. 20.