Eastside's Johnston player of the year

COVINGTON -- Even though Eastside's volleyball team failed to make it to the Class AAA playoffs, they had three playoff-quality players, including Katie Johnston who was named Area 8-AAA Player of the Year for the second straight time.

"I was a little surprised that she got it this year because Oconee County had eight seniors and they're all outstanding players on an outstanding team," Eastside head coach Angie Lewis said. "The competition was a lot more stiff for her to win it again this year."

While Johnston was named to the first area team, her sister Sidney and Tiffany Lo were named to the All-Area second team.

"There are 10 teams in the area. I think that Eastside and Oconee County had three players," Lewis said.

Katie increased her kills from last year going from 303 to 318. Unfortunately, the amount of aces she recorded was almost half of what she had last year going from 189 to 97. Her number for digs was also down, from 463 to 86, but that was not really indicative of her play.

"Our statistician didn't do a really good job of recording digs for us this year," Lewis said. "I think that number should have been a little bit higher because in that back row, she got some that probably weren't recorded."

There was also a reason for the decrease in her number of aces as well.

"Her aces were down from what they were last year. She had a rough start this because of her serving. But once she picked up she made up for some of that loss she had. This was the first summer she didn't play club ball," Lewis said.

Even though Lo is a very good setter which allowed her to get 468 assists, what she really wants is to be a hitter.

"Tiffany tells me that her strong point isn't setting. She would much rather hit. Her margin of error when hitting was very low. She very seldom made a mistake when she went to spike one. They were good, they weren't always kills, but they were almost always good hits," Lewis said. "Tiffany does a great job setting the ball. She works well with Katie and Sidney and the other hitters we have. It's a true asset to have Tiffany on the team and do what she does. Not just as a setter, but as an all around player."

Lo finished her senior season with 26 kills, 59 aces, 10 blocks and 83 digs.

"She would be able to get a dig that most setter's couldn't get in that coverage. Her body can go one way and her hands can go another for her to make that play. She's an awesome player and could be looking toward playing at the next level," Lewis added.

In her second year as a varsity player, the younger Johnston sister, a sophomore, had 136 kills, 67 aces, 29 assist, a team high 44 blocks and 55 digs.

"This is her second year, she started out as a freshman last year," Lewis said. "Her confidence level has increased this year so she has a better command of the game, especially as a middle hitter.