Morristown East ends Cherokee’s season, 3-0

Morristown East’s Jaci Drinnon (7) delivers a set to Sarah Jones (24) and Madyson Greenlee (16) Tuesday night in the District 2-AAA tournament at Morristown West High School.

Morristown East stayed alive in the District 2-AAA Volleyball Tournament by dumping Cherokee, 3-0, in an elimination game at West’s Michael R. Reed Gymnasium.

The Lady Hurricanes captured the opening set by 25-12, came back with a 25-15 win and ended the match with a 25-21 decision.

With the win, East will face Cocke County tonight at 6:15 after No. 1 West and No. 2 Jefferson County square off at 5 p.m. The Lady Trojans defeated Cocke County, 3-0, in Tuesday’s other game.

East is now all even for the season at 15-15.

Morristown East coach Holly Drinnon said, “It was better than last night (a loss to Jefferson County), but still not very good.

“We were just very, very sloppy,” the coach added. “I thought we had more energy than we did last night but we’ve got to play better to stay in the tournament.

“We just need to go back to the basics and do a better job.”

One thing Drinnon said her team definitely did better was communication. “Much better,” she said. “At least we weren’t running into each other all over the court like we did on Monday. The girls were talking to each other tonight instead of it being a silent game.”

Another big factor for East on Tuesday was its service game. The Lady ‘Canes served 15 aces as Jules Lawson racked up five to lead the way. Kiersten Bell and Jaci Drinnon added three each and Randi Drinnon had two.

Madyson Greenlee and Sarah Jones had five kills apiece to lead East with Finley Surber adding four. Jaci Drinnon handed out 16 assists.

Jaci and Randi Drinnon had seven and five digs respectively with Surber and Carly Holt adding four. Lakin Burnside had East’s only two blocks on the night.

After the teams split the first two points of the match, East ran off six straight points. Surber and Jones had kills and Reese Forester served an ace in the spurt.

East pulled steadily away and led by 16-8 when Surber put down a kill and Jones served an ace in a five-point run that made it 21-8.

The Lady ‘Canes final four points all came on hitting errors by the Lady Chiefs.

After East scored the first two points of the second set, two hitting errors by the Lady ‘Canes and an ace by Raelyn Fletcher gave Cherokee a 3-2 lead. East went back in front but Mallie Cole put down a winner, Cassie Cooper had a kill and a net violation tied the game at 7-7.

Adriana Harrell’s ace gave the Lady Chiefs their final lead, but East ran off 13 straight points to take control.

Surber’s kill started the spurt and the freshman added another later but the serving of Lawson was the biggest thing as she rang up four aces.

Cherokee tried to rally and pulled within 20-14 on a kill by Jennah Powell. But the Lady ‘Canes closed with a 5-1 run with the final two points coming on aces by Randi Drinnon.

Jaci Drinnon had two aces and Bell added another as East started the final games with a 6-2 run.

East would pull away and the Lady Chiefs would bounce right back before Bell had a kill and the Lady ‘Canes scored four straight to lead 16-11.

However, Powell knocked down a kill and also served an ace as the Lady Chiefs pulled even at 16-16. But just like in the previous set, East had a big run, scoring six straight points.

Cherokee didn’t fold and pulled within 23-21 but East scored and then Lawson had an ace to end it.