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Lady Rebels turn back Cyclones, prolong district dominance

JOHNNY WILSON • Oct 10, 2019 at 10:52 PM

BLOUNTVILLE — The road to the District 1-AA volleyball championship has run through Colonial Heights for a while now, so Sullivan South figured it’d be the thing to do Thursday night to add more brass to the school’s trophy case.

South had some tough moments at the Dickie Warren Dome, but the top-seeded Lady Rebels were never in much danger in their 25-20, 25-21, 25-14 win over second-seeded Elizabethton, claiming yet another district title.

A two-time state champion since dropping down from Class AAA in the fall of 2013, South has now won seven straight District 1-AA crowns.

“I feel like we had one of our better games, so that’s good because we are a little inconsistent,” said longtime South coach Wendy Ratliff. “But I do think we’re getting to the point where we’re jelling.”

And that can be distressing news for the opposition.

“They play every aspect of the game well and do so consistently,” said 25-year Elizabethton coach Leslee Bradley. “We had moments of brilliance where we played the game well, but not consistently enough.

“So they’re the team that’s been at the top because they just have that consistency, and they can make the play, play after play after play.”

The Lady Cyclones do get to continue their season, however, when they meet Seymour in Tuesday’s Region 1-AA tournament, to be held at South.

South faces Greeneville in the other region semifinal, with the two winners meeting later in the day and later advancing to the sectional round.

JAYNE PUSHES REBELS

Abbey Jayne, a 5-foot-10 senior who will play college volleyball next fall at King University, led South (22-14) to victory as usual, earning tournament most valuable player recognition after turning in 10 kills and 11 digs.

“And she had the most fun I’ve seen her have in, like, maybe ever,” Ratliff said.

South ran out to big leads in the first and third games and were able to finish what it started, but the middle game was much closer, with Elizabethton (23-15) leading throughout until the Lady Rebels finally led for good at 18-17.

Makki Compton had 14 assists and Molly Williams produced 16 digs for South, while Olivia Delung had 12 assists and 15 digs.

ELIZABETHTON LEADERS

Morgan Smith had a nice double-double to pace the Lady Cyclones statistically, turning in 10 kills and 12 assists. Deanna Hull was big as well, with 23 digs.

Josie Lyons notched 10 assists for ’Betsy, while Whitley Maupin had 16 digs.

ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM

Those joining Jayne on the all-tournament team included teammates Compton, Williams and Izzy Musick, plus Smith, Hull and Hannah Boster of Elizabethton. Also among the elite group were Sullivan Central’s Elaina Vaughan and Laiken Hoback, and Sullivan East’s Ashton Adkins.

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