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Lady Devils open 2015 season

It was the unofficial start to the season for the Unicoi County High School volleyball program.
The Lady Blue Devils made the journey to Sullivan County on Tuesday, Aug. 11, to participate in the annual Three Rivers Conference jamboree hosted at Sullivan North High School.
UCHS competed against Johnson County, Sullivan South and Sullivan North before they opened the regular season against Greeneville and Providence Academy after The Erwin Record’s press deadline.
“I was a little worried about the kids being comfortable,” head coach Frank Forsythe said. “We did start off a little slow. We had around three blocking errors and a couple of key missed serves early on.”
UCHS opened up the night against the Lady Longhorns and earned a come-from-behind victory after receiving some key minutes from the entire team, Forsythe said.
“I think the freshmen, we played two right from the get go, got more comfortable as the match went,” Forsythe said of Sarah Grace Larkey and Brooklyn Jones. “Our older girls started stepping up and we got more comfortable with our play and our confidence started growing. We can play volleyball as long as we don’t hurt ourselves.”
With only three seniors and an influx of sophomores and freshmen, Forysthe said he liked how his older girls are adjusting as leaders.
“The older girls are coming together,” he said. “Keelie (Hall) was telling Brooklyn and Sarah to not worry about the pressure of being a freshmen and that they know how to play the game.”
Hall was out of the contest due to injury, but was expected to make a full recovery in time for the team’s season opener. While the junior was out, Forsythe saw strides out of sophomore Kenedy King, who replaced Hall during the jamboree.
“Kenedy has really stepped up,” he said. “She’s our number two hitter, but I’d like to move her back to her normal spot once Keelie gets back.”
The injury bug has plagued the Lady Blue Devils so far, with Laura Rogers nursing a wrist injury; however, Rogers was able to make her return to the hardwood as the team’s setter.
UCHS capped off last week with a scrimmage at home, but the feel of seeing a conference team early on only helps the Lady Blue Devils, Forsythe said.
“I think this is good in the overall scheme of things,” he added. “To get a chance to see these teams. There’s nothing like a conference opponent to get motivated to bring out your best game.”
The Lady Blue Devils continue action this week at home on Wednesday, Aug. 19, against Daniel Boone and open conference play on Thursday, Aug. 20, against Johnson County. The freshmen, junior varsity and varsity teams are slated to play in those contests. Action is scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m.
UCHS concludes this week’s agenda of games with a trip to Elizabethton to compete in the Cyclone Invitational on Saturday, Aug. 22.