Lady ‘Canes stay alive, beat Cocke County 3-1

Morristown East’s Randi Drinnon scoops up a dig in front of Kiersin Bell Wednesday against Cocke County in the D2-AAA tournament.

For the second straight night Morristown East stayed alive in the District 2-AAA Volleyball Tournament by capturing a victory in the losers bracket. On Tuesday, the Lady Hurricanes downed Cocke County, 3-1.

East will now square off with cross-town rival West tonight at 5 p.m. with the winners battling Jefferson County in the championship game at 6:15 and also picking up a spot in next week’s region.

The Lady Patriots beat West, 3-0, on Tuesday.

East staged a frantic rally to win the opening set, 25-23, before the Lady Red claimed a 25-21 victory to even the match. However, the Lady ‘Canes took the third set 25-22 and won the fourth 25-19.

Coach Holly Drinnon’s club pushed its record for the season over the .500 mark with the win as they are now 16-15. Cocke County closed the year with a 12-13 worksheet.

Sarah Jones, East’s only senior, racked up 11 kills on the night to lead her team. Freshmen Kiersten Bell and Finley Surber added seven and five respectively.

Jaci Drinnon had 22 assists and Jules Lawson was right behind with 21 for East while Randi Drinnon had a great defensive night with 34 digs. Jaci Drinnon added 19, Lawson 12 and Surber 11. Jaci also led in aces with four while Lawson had three.

Cocke County’s Maddie Williams had 11 kills while Gracie Gregg chipped in eight.

East coach Holly Drinnon said, “Cocke County has a good team. They don’t let balls fall.

“They’re also one of those teams that hits over the tops of your blocks so you have to be very mobile,” she added. “We were not very mobile tonight nor were we vocal.”

Drinnon continued, “We really had an issue talking and that killed us. We ran into each other quite a few times because we just flat out didn’t call the ball.

“We’ve got to talk on the floor and play as a team. That’s an issue we’re having right now but hopefully we can come out here tomorrow night and play as a team so we can have a chance at a big victory.”

The first game was knotted at 6-6 when East ran off five straight points behind kills by Madyson Greenlee and Surber and a block by Chadlyn Bryant. East was up 13-8 when four Lady ‘Canes hitting errors and a kill by Gregg tied the score.

East scored two straight, but the Lady Red used a 9-1 run to grab a commanding 22-15 lead. Cocke County led 23-18, but Jones served out the final six points with a pair of aces included.

Set two saw seven ties with the final one coming at 14-14. That’s when the Lady Red reeled off an 8-2 spurt for a 22-16 spread. East got within two at 22-20 as Bell had back-to-back kills, but the Lady Red put it away.

The Lady ‘Canes scored the first four points of game three and breezed away to an 11-6 lead. But the Lady Red battled back to tie at 11-11 and again at 21-21. But Bell knocked down a kill, the losers made two hitting errors and Jones and Bell combined for a block for the final points.

After Cocke County broke out to a 3-1 lead in the final game, East ran off five straight and never trailed again. Jones had a kill, Surber scored on a block and Bell served an ace in the spurt.

It stayed close until it was 10-8 when East pulled away with five straight points. The only offensive points came on a kill by Bell and when Lawson pushed a shot into an open spot just inside the back line.

Cocke County battled all the way but never got closer than four points on two occasions with the final coming at 23-19 on a kill by Paige Neithammer. But Jones scored on a dink and Jaci Drinnon served an ace to end it.