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Johnston sisters poised to lead Lady Eagles on area title run
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Eastside’s volleyball team has been the most consistent of the three schools the past handful of years and as the 2011 season fast approaches (games begin in less than two weeks) the Lady Eagles look again to be the front runner for the county championship. But how they will do in their region is the bigger question.

Part of Eastside’s success the past few seasons has to do with the area in which the Lady Eagles play. Top to bottom it isn’t very tough. Perhaps more than that though is outside hitter Katie Johnston. Johnston is the school’s all-time leader in kills, aces and service points and she enters her senior year as one of the top players in Area 8-AAA.

But Katie isn’t the only Johnston set to make an impact this year. Younger sister Sydney emerged as the Lady Eagles second best offensive player last year and will be much-improved heading into her second year at the varsity level.

Eastside is coming off a playoff season, its third straight, after finishing 4-5 and sixth in the area standings and winning a match in the area tournament. The Lady Eagles defeated Chestatee in three games to make it to the Class AAA tournament. Their stay there last three games as they lost to Columbus 25-11, 25-13 and 25-14 in the best out of five match. Overall the Lady Eagles were 20-23 and 4-0 against county foes to reclaim the county championship after Alcovy won it in 2009.

Turning the page to this year, Eastside will be solid offensively with the Johnston sisters. Both have good power and Katie in particular has a lethal serve. She set a school record for aces with 189 last season. At the net, Katie Johnston will be Eastside’s best weapon. She led the area in kills with 303 a year ago, also a school record, and digs with 463. Sydney Johnston led the team in blocks, forming a solid 1-2 punch.

The Johnston sisters will have to make up for the loss of Hannah Bolen, Eastside’s other main offensive player. Bolen graduated and is attending Florida Christian College on a volleyball scholarship.

If the Lady Eagles are to compete for an area championship, they’ll have to contend with North Hall and Oconee County. The Lady Warriors ran the table in area play a year ago only to lose to Woodward Academy in the state finals. North Hall was also solid a year ago, dropping only one area match to Oconee County.