Lady Longhorns Volleyball team wins first three games against Holston Lady Cavaliers
By Jonathan PleasantThe Lady Longhorns dominated as they took to the volleyball court for the first time this season against the Holston Lady Cavaliers. Winning the first three games in a row, the fast paced, aggressive, and unified team effort almost made the win look easy.
With a strong pre-season behind them, the girls seem to have the desire and talent to have a phenomenal year, but Coach Eric Crabtree also cautions that there will inevitably be bumps along the way. “They worked really, really hard and you can see it on the court,” Crabtree said. “They play well as a team and play hard. They played like this all summer and they will get better, but there will also be stretches where they let one bad thing turn into five bad things. But if they clean it up and stay clean and always on the attack we can play with anybody in our league.”
According to Crabtree, the Lady Longhorns have already won two separate summer camps at Avery and Carson Newman where they beat much larger schools such as Jefferson County twice. Johnson County also dominated in most of their scrimmages resulting in wins over Chilhowie, Holston, and Abingdon. Building on this strong foundation, the team came into their first official game ready and eager to get on the attack.
In the first few minutes of the first match the Lady Longhorns quickly pulled out ahead of their opponents and before long had doubled the score at 15-7. The Lady Cavaliers put up a strong defense but, as Crabtree pointed out, the Lady Longhorns constant pressure made it difficult for the Lady Cavaliers to get on the offense. “Any time as a team that you are getting the attack and the other team just has to save the ball, then it’s just we’re getting more attacks because they can’t attack us. We did a really good job tonight. We pushed them and didn’t let them get in the flow of an offense much at all,” said Crabtree.
Throughout all three games the Lady Longhorns showcased a lot of talent. Players like Sarah Swift and Brionna Reece made strong serves, while blockers and hitters at the net like Haley Miller made the Lady Cavaliers fight for every point. Miller was strong on the serve as well, nailing a couple of powerful hits late in the third game. “Haley Miller did really well,” affirmed Crabtree. “She always mixes up her speeds on her serves. Her hard serve doesn’t get in all the time and we really stress getting your serves in, so she hits a few easy to get it and then she just unloads. Really that’s been a weapon for her because the change in speed is good. At the net she played awesome. She got a couple blocks, a couple spikes, she had a really good game tonight.”
Undaunted, the Lady Cavaliers continued to fight back and by the third and final matchup were beginning to make headway, battling back from a score of 21-10 to pick up eight more points in the time it took Johnson County to make four. Acknowledging their effort Crabtree commented, “Holston played pretty well there toward the end. They’re a young group and they’ll improve as the year goes on. They didn’t quit and that’s a good sign. We got a little sloppy there at the end, but we got sloppy because they were getting some good saves. We made some mistakes there in the last ten points that we hadn’t made all night.”
Unfortunately for the Lady Cavaliers, Johnson County had simply pulled too far ahead early on to catch up before reaching the game ending score of 25. With the third game resulting in a Lady Longhorn win, there was no need to play a fourth match. Working well as a team, Johnson County maintained control of the game from start to finish, leaving the fans cheering and Coach Crabtree proud of the girls’ effort. “Our biggest strength is that we all get along, work together, and they all have a desire to do good,” Crabtree said. “We’re limited in some aspects but we make up for it with desire, work ethic, and getting along. As long as we play clean, we can play with anybody. I don’t mean that we can beat anybody, but we can play with anybody. I expect a really good season. There are a lot of teams we can beat on our schedule. If we play to our potential we are going to have a great year.”
Game 1: Johnson County 25, Holston 14
Game 2: Johnson County 25, Holston 19
Game 3: Johnson County 25, Holston 18