Cocke County volleyball earns third-straight win

The Lady Red volleyball team of Cocke County are heating up with another victory under first-year coach Jamie Messer.

Coming off a marquee win over District 2-AAA opponent Morristown West and intercounty rival Cosby, Cocke County grabbed a third consecutive win on the road Monday by defeating Sevier County, 3-1 (26-24, 25-12, 23-25, 25-21).

“This team works so well together,” Messer said. “It’s a huge asset to our program. Our seniors are working great with our juniors and younger players. You hear them all the time talking to each other and lifting each other up. It’s a big part of our winning lately.”

Messer has this team going in the right direction with postseason play right around the corner. The Lady Red earned their 10th win of the season.

Many of these wins have been led by their defense, and it was the same on Monday evening.

“I told them when I was first hired that I was a defensive-minded coach,” Messer said. “We immediately went to work on defense when I started. This team has adapted to (my playstyle) well. I can’t pick a leader on this team because every girl is playing as a team.”

Cocke County battled its way back in the first set after trailing 19-14 to Sevier County.

The defense broke Sevier County’s rhythm toward the end of the set, only allowing five more points, and Cocke County stormed back for the 26-24 victory.

There was no problem finishing off Sevier County in the second set as the Lady Red never trailed for the 25-12 win to hold a 2-0 advantage heading into set three.

Unfortunately, Cocke County struggled to keep the momentum flowing as a late 21-17 lead was erased by the Bearettes.

Cocke County only needed to score two more times for the sweep, but Sevier County did not allow it. The Bearettes executed five kills in the final six points for them to steal set three, 25-23.

“Sevier County is relentless,” Messer said. “They just don’t quit. You could tell we were getting tired. I don’t think we have faced an opponent yet that has so much rallying during a break. I told my team before the fourth set that we have to want this more, and they got it done.”

Sevier County led early in the fourth set until the Lady Red finally tied it at 11 apiece and that was the beginning of a strong finish.

The Bearettes had Cocke County within two points, but could not find a point through the defense of the Lady Red.

Cocke County’s Sarah Conard ended the match with a kill for the 25-21 set four win.