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It’s a new (volley)ball game for Lady Dragons netters

CHS opens season at 5-1 with only three seniors

  • Clinton’s Brooklyn Blisard gets a shot past two Bledsoe County defenders in last weekend’s “Summer Splashdown” in the Donnie Dome on the campus of Clinton High School. - Ken Leinart

  • Clinton senior Jordyn Majors passes the ball during the August 18 away match at Karns High School. The Lady Dragons won the matchup against the Lady Beavers. - Ken Leinart

A new era officially began last week for the Clinton High School volleyball team as Lorri Johnson took over the reins for the Lady Dragons’ program.

Clinton won five of its six matches last week and captured a pair of crucial early-season District 3-AAA matches to open the season. The Lady Dragons also won three out of four at the Clinton Summer Splashdown on Saturday. They took two tournament matches from Fulton High School. Clinton split a pair with Bledsoe County.

The Lady Dragons were declared tournament champions. Sophomore Darbi Brummett had a team-high 15 kills.

Clinton opened the 2021 campaign on Tuesday, Aug 17, by winning a tough road match against district rival Karns, and Johnson said that was a great way to open the 2021 campaign.

“That was really big for our kids to go into Karns and win,” said Johnson, who had previous coaching stints at Soddy-Daisy, Knoxville Christian School, Knoxville Central High School and Clinton Middle School. “We went in there and we won the first set.

“We lost the second set and then came back and won the third and fourth games. We were really consistent from end to end, and our kids really played hard.”

The Lady Dragons prevailed in their home opener Thursday as they swept the Powell Lady Panthers in another league match. That gave the young Clinton squad a shot of confidence.

The Lady Dragons’ lineup features three seniors, three sophomores and two freshmen.

“We have a really young team and our slogan for the season is ‘a new beginning,’” said Johnson, who oversaw a massive rebuild with the Lady Bobcats at Knoxville Central. “We’re very young and our seniors really stepped up ... against Karns and Powell.

“It was really exciting because our fans traveled to Karns and then when we came home to play Powell, we had a bigger crowd. There’s really a lot of support for the sport.”

Clinton’s seniors are Jordyn Majors, Kierra Washington and Lilia Stultz. Johnson said she would be leaning on them for leadership as the freshmen and sophomores grow.

“It’s different for these seniors than it’s ever been for them,” Johnson said. “The expectations are different for them. They’ll have to carry the weight of the team, and the first thing you’ve got to do is figure out who wants to play and who wants to sacrifice.