Area teams fall on 1st day of Elite Eight
Justin Schuver, Hartselle Enquirer
PELHAM — It was tough sledding for area teams at the Elite Eight state volleyball tournament at the Pelham Civic Complex Nov. 1. Hartselle and Danville each fell in the semifinal round while Brewer dropped out in the quarterfinals.
Lady Tigers come up short against Briarwood
In a state semifinal match against No. 1- ranked Briarwood, the sixth-ranked Lady Tigers remained competitive in every game but just couldn’t close the deal as Hartselle fell 25-19, 25-17, 25-21.
Hartselle’s best opportunity to win a game probably came in Game 3 when the Tigers held a 20-18 lead. But the Lady Lions battled back and eventually took it by a 25-21 score to end Hartselle’s season with a 49-15 record. In the second game, Hartselle trailed just 17-16 before Briarwood responded with an 8-1 run to close it out.
Lauren Drake had nine kills and 15 digs in the loss and Mary Virginia Reeves added six kills. Emily Roden and Shauna Clemons tied to lead the team with 10 digs, and Kayla Orr added 19 assists and five digs.
Earlier that morning, Hartselle defeated Gulf Shores 19-25, 25-19, 25-23, 25-7. Orr had 38 assists while Drake had 19 kills and Reeves had 15 kills. Roden led with 20 digs and Cerra Little had 18.
It was a tough end to a season that will go down in the history books as one of Hartselle’s best ever. The Lady Tigers were regional champions and advanced to the Elite Eight for the first time in school history.
Danville’s dream ends in semifinals
Danville’s hopes of making the Class 3A championship match for the second year in a row were ended by Lexington, who defeated the Lady Hawks 25-17, 25-16, 22-25, 25-19.
It was an especially tough pill to swallow as Danville defeated the Lady Bears in three games earlier this year at the Region D tournament. But the Lexington defense was up to the task of keeping Danville’s talented hitters at bay this time around.
The Lady Hawks led the opening game 11-10 before Lexington finished with a flurry. Danville never led in Game 2, but bounced back with a strong outing to win the third game.
But Lexington snuffed out any of the Lady Hawks’ momentum, taking an early 3-2 lead in Game 4 and never trailing the rest of the way.
In the opening round, Danville swept Clarke County 25-23, 25-8, 25-20.
Danville senior Lauren Simmons closed out her shining career with 55 kills in the Lady Hawks’ two matches. Fellow senior Bethany Evans had 70 assists and 18 digs while junior Alaina Fitzgerald finished with 30 kills.
Brewer falls to John Carroll in 1st round
Brewer’s first trip to the Elite Eight was a short one as the Lady Patriots fell to third-ranked John Carroll 28-26, 25-22, 25-23.
Despite being one of just two unranked teams in the Class 5A field, Brewer held its own against the Lady Cavaliers throughout most of the match. The Lady Patriots led the first game 24-22 and had three different game points but could not finish.
The third game was an especially tough loss, as Brewer led 21-16 late but could not hang on for the victory.
The Lady Patriots were arguably the Cinderella story in Class 5A, finishing fourth at the Region D tournament and going on the road to sweep Region C winner Gardendale to advance to Pelham for the first time in school history.
Andrea Crawford led the Lady Patriots with nine kills and four digs. Meagan Hormel and Kendra Jones had five kills each. Rebecca Alderton led Brewer with 14 assists while Kayla Amerine had five blocks and Courtney Scott added four.