Hartselle nabs county tourney
Charles Prince, Hartselle Enquirer
Four teams ranked in the Top 10 of their respective classes came in looking for the title, but the host Hartselle Lady Tigers emerged as champions of the 2004 Morgan County volleyball tourney.
Class 5A, No. 2 Hartselle whipped two-time defending champion Class 6A, No. 9 Austin in the semi-finals and then topped 5A, No. 10 Brewer in the championship match to claim the first county title under the direction of coach Tanya Lybarger. The tourney also included 3A, No. 7 Danville.
"I'm very happy. I knew if the
girls played up to their ability, they could win it," Lybarger said. "I anticipated that Austin would be a tough team for us and they were, but we got by them and then we beat a very good Brewer team in the final. Our girls are gelling right now, and good things like this championship come when you team starts putting it all together."
Hartselle, which won two games in pool play, received a bye to the semi-finals because of their margin of victory. In the semis, the Lady Tigers stopped the Lady Black Bears from Austin in a two-game sweep, 31-29, a game which was tied on 13 different occasions, and 25-19.
"That was a nerve-racking match," Hartselle senior Sarah Whitlow said. "In the first game we had the lead and they kept tying it up. I'm glad we got the first game win, because they are so tough. That match could have easily gone the other way."
Lauren Drake and Sarah McNutt had nine kills each to lead the Lady Tigers at the net, while Shan Jones had six and Mary Virginia Reeves and Kayla Orr had three each.
Whitlow recorded 23 assists. Drake added five digs, followed by McNutt with three. Jones, Whitlow, Orr and Jenna Weatherford had two digs each. Weatherford served up two aces, while Jones and McNutt had one each. McNutt had five blocks, Jones four, while Drake and Reeves had two each.
In the final, Hartselle whipped Brewer 25-16, 25-13 behind strong play at the net. The Lady Tigers recorded 34 kills in the two games. McNutt led the way with 10, while Jones had nine, Reeves had seven, Drake added five and Orr had one. In addition, Lauren Davis collected her first kill of the tourney in the final match.
Brittni Russell had five digs, Weatherford four, Whitlow three, Drake two, while Jones and McNutt had one each. McNutt and Jones had three blocks each, while Drake and Orr had one a piece. Orr served the only Hartselle ace in the match.
With the win the Lady Tigers improved to 44-10 on the season. Jones, McNutt and Whitlow were named to the All-Tournament team.
Pool play matches
The Lady Tigers opened the tourney with a 25-15, 25-15 sweep of Brewer. McNutt had nine kills, Jones six, Reeves five and Drake three. Whitlow handed out 19 assists and added two aces. Drake had four digs and an ace, while Weatherford had three digs. Hartselle ended pool play with a win over West Morgan.