Eastside fought off J.I. Burton in the first set and rolled in the second and third sets of a 3-0 district win on Thursday night. The 25-23, 25-16, 25-15 victory sets up a crucial district matchup between the Lady Spartans (7-10, 4-1) and Cumberland-leading Rye Cove (10-5, 5-0) on Tuesday at Eastside.
A win would either put Rye Cove a step closer to closing the door on the rest of the league or move Eastside into a tie with the Lady Eagles atop the Cumberland standings.
FIRST SET PROVES KEY
Eastside and Burton (4-6, 2-2) battled point for point in the opening set Thursday. The Game 1 win gave the Lady Spartans the momentum and seemed to strike the life from the Lady Raiders.
“We’re young. We only have one girl who has played varsity before this year,” Burton coach Donnie Potter said. “So we are young and we are inexperienced. But we’re better than that.
“It’s not an excuse. I know that we’re better than what we’re playing and we just have to do better. We have to be better mentally to be able to pick ourselves up.”
Eastside coach Brianne Bailey said holding on in the opening set was key for her Lady Spartans.
“That’s the thing with us. If we can pull off the first set we’re pretty good for the rest of the day. However, there have been games where we won the first set and then relaxed,” Bailey noted. “I didn’t think we came out ready to play in the first set. I thought we were a little slow. I thought we did better in the second and third sets.”
Eastside continued its strong play throughout the next two sets, especially the third when the Lady Spartans jumped to a 10-0 lead.
BY THE NUMBERS
Anna Whited led Eastside with 12 kills and 11 digs and Reiley McCoy finished with 12 kills and four blocks. Eliza Johnson had 31 assists and 10 digs, Kacie Jones racked up 18 digs and Tavi Sensabaugh had seven service aces.
J.I. Burton got 10 kills from Maggie Williams, five kills from Sarah Mullins, 16 assists from Bailey Sturgill and 10 digs from Akyssa Hollinger.
While Eastside entertains Rye Cove, Burton plays a key Cumberland match at Thomas Walker, also on Tuesday night.