DANDRIDGE — Second-seeded Jefferson County opened the District 2-AAA Volleyball Tournament by rolling past No. 3 Morristown East, 3-0, Monday night.
The Lady Patriots won both of the first two sets by 25-22 before racing to an easy 25-15 triumph in the third.
Action resumes tonight at top-seeded Morristown West, where the remainder of the tournament will be played. At 5 p.m., West faces Cocke County, a 3-0 winner over Cherokee on Monday. At 6:15, East and Cherokee will battle to stay alive in a loser’s bracket tilt.
Jefferson County, now 20-9 for the season, will play the West-Cocke County winner on Wednesday night.
The Lady Patriots and East split a pair of five-set, regular season matches but this contest wasn’t very close as they used a balanced hitting attack for the victory.
Sydney Keck put down eight kills to lead the way for Jefferson County while Bella Webb, Abby Blankenship, Harley Shumaker and Makayla Alvey all collected seven.
Alvey and Webb had two blocks each.
The Lady Patriots also served the ball very effectively. Kristin Mutterspaugh racked up four aces on the night with Cami Mincey and Anne-Elizabeth Huffaker adding three each and Alvey two.
“I thought we played pretty well tonight,” said Lady Patriots coach Torey Yocom. “It took us a while to get started”
She added, “It took us a minute to get adjusted to their offensive play but I thought we did a really good job after that.
“We hit the ball well and I thought we served well, also. I think we showed what we’re capable of doing tonight. It was a good win.”
East coach Holly Drinnon wasn’t pleased with her team’s play.
“I just didn’t feel like we came to play tonight,” Drinnon said.
“We didn’t talk and it was like there were six different kids on the floor,” the coach said. “We went over some things on Friday and we did what we talked about a couple of times and it worked, but we didn’t do it again.”
She closed, “You know in matches, some kids have their night and some don’t. I just don’t know if we had anyone who had their night tonight.”
East was led by Reese Forester who had nine kills. Freshmen Kiersten Bell and Finley Surber added five and four respectively.
Jaci Drinnon handed out a dozen assists and also led in digs with 13. Randi Drinnon added nine digs and Jules Lawson chipped in six assists.
Jefferson County jumped in front 5-1 in the first set before the Lady Hurricanes came back to tie at 5-5 and eventually took the lead by scoring four straight to go up 9-7.
But the Lady Patriots ran off an 8-1 spurt to go back out by six.
East chipped away at the lead and finally caught up at 21-21 on a shot by Forester. The teams then traded points before Blankenship and Keck sandwiched kills around an ace by Mutterspaugh to end the opening set.
The second game was one of scoring runs early. East scored six straight to grab an 8-3 margin. However, the home team came back to take the lead at 9-8 and the teams traded spurts after the set was tied at 15-15.
Jefferson County scored four and then East scored three. Both teams then had a three-point run and it was 22-21, Lady Patriots who then went on to win.
It wasn’t close in the final set after 6-5. That’s when Webb put down a kill and Mutterspaugh served a pair of aces in a four-point run.
East made several hitting errors and kept falling farther behind. It was 16-10 when Jefferson County ran off a 7-1 spree to lead by a dozen.
The Lady ‘Canes battled back to 23-15 before Keck and Shumaker banged down kills to end the match.