NEWPORT—A clean sweep opened up district play for the Cocke County Lady Red at home on Tuesday.

After opening the season with a rough start against Bearden, Cocke County turned it around the next night for a 3-0 (25-13, 25-19, 25-13) victory against the Cherokee Lady Chiefs. There was no looking back once the Lady Red started the match off hot.

“We were a lot more prepared tonight,” Cocke County’s head coach Jeremy Byrd said. “We were mentally there and fixed our mistakes. We had to stop being content with just being competitive and be hungry for wins. We want to continue to build a winning program.”

Cocke County’s biggest adjustment was its hustle and positioning, which happened to improve overnight.

“We were exactly where we needed to be most of the time,” Byrd said. “I know they got tired, but they never quit out there. We did not let up and let the lead go away. We played with a killer instinct.”

As the Lady Red (1-1, 1-0 District 2-AAA) opened the first set with a lot of energy, it only pushed them forward to gain momentum and confidence as each set passed. Set one and three were grabbed dominantly by Cocke County. However, set two gave Byrd a little scare as the Lady Chiefs kept it tight.

Senior Leah Brown stood out as the leader for Cocke County having 10 kills for the night to aid her team to victory.

“I was in my head last game,” Brown said. “We played as a team here tonight and kept each other going. We did great as a team not letting things get to us.”

Brown’s night began in the first set with her first kill of the night giving the Lady Red a 3-2 lead. From there, Cocke County never lost the lead. Cherokee saw itself down 16-10 and was forced to take a timeout, but could not overcome the deficit. Cocke County grabbed the first set with a 25-13 victory.

Cherokee picked it up in the second set having its good start with a 3-0 lead. Cocke County stole the lead very quickly, though, grabbing a 9-6 lead after Brown’s kill.

The Lady Chiefs lingered around by eventually tying the score at 17. Cocke County would only allow Cherokee two more points, though, finishing the match strong with a 25-19 win.

“We weren’t as organized in set two,” Byrd said. “I think we may have let go a little mentally because we thought we were just going to breeze by. We can’t have those mental let-goes like that.”

Cocke County entered set three with determination to end the match quickly, and did so. Starting with a 17-4 start, the Lady Red walked their way to victory. Brown executed two more kills in the last eight points for her team, as Cocke County completed the sweep with a 25-13 win.

The Lady Red will look to keep their winning way alive and get on a roll when they travel to Grainger on Thursday. That match is set for a 5:30 p.m. start.

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