‘Do It for Riley’: Hartselle volleyball theme for season
“Do It for Riley” is the theme Hartselle’s Lady Tigers have adopted as they make a run for another state volleyball championship.
That decision was made by team members in remembrance of the late Robin Riley who died suddenly August 1 after serving Hartselle High School as a beloved teacher and coach.
“This team has more experience than the one we had a year ago and has the ability to compete on a high level,” said head coach Tanya Lybarger. “The players have good chemistry and have worked hard during the preseason.”
“Some players were moved to new positions and that affected team performance during the transition,” Lybarger stated. “For example, 6’0” Jordan Finn is playing at the libero position. She’s doing a good job but I don’t think we’ve ever had a libero that tall.”
Finn, a junior, is one of six starters returning from the 2014 team. Others are seniors Kayla Key, Bailey Powell and Madelyn Cheatham, and juniors Megan Zuck, Karley Alexander and Gabrielle Bili. The 12-member varsity includes juniors Hayden Hanserd and Maggie Anderson and freshmen Abby Arias, Lexie Smith and MacKenzie Jackson.
Lybarger said she was pleased to have all of her varsity players back, healthy and released to play in their season opener at Addison.
“After practicing against each other for so long, they were thrilled to get to play someone else,” she added.
Three senior members of the team expressed optimism for the new season.
“I feel like we are coming together as a team,” said Key. “Our chemistry has been great.”
“We’re dedicating the season in memory of Robin Riley,” stated Powell. “Our goal is to win a state championship.”
“Some of us are playing in different positions to close gaps,” said Cheatham. “I feel we have stepped up and can get the job done.”
Working with Lybarger as assistant coaches are Chandler Phillips, Yvonne Howard and Taylor Lybarger.
The Lady Tigers posted a 3-3 record as they kicked off their 2015 volleyball season on the road Thursday and Saturday.
They fell to Addison and defeated Curry in their opener, defeated Oak Mountain and St. Luke’s and lost to eventual finalists Brentwood and Mountain Brook in the Juanita Boddie Tournament at Hoover.
Megan Zuck led the Lady Tigers with 11 kills, two aces, two blocks and 13 digs. Bailey Powell was a close second with 11 kills, 2 aces, a block and 13 digs. Hayden Hanserd added 3 kills, Madelyn Cheatham had 3 kills and 2 blocks, Kayle Key had 2 kills and 2 blocks, Maggie Anderson had 14 assists and 2 digs and Gabrielle Bili had 10 digs.
Hartselle’s Powell had 7 kills and 3 digs, Zuck scored 7 kills and a dig, Key had 3 kills, Hanserd had 3 kills and 2 blocks, Anderson had 10 assists and 2 digs, Bili had 7 assists and Cheatham had 2 aces.
Oak Mountain 24-19
Zuck ked Hartselle with 9 kills, a block, 3 aces, an assist and 3 digs. Powell had 4 kills and 2 digs, Hanserd added a kill and 5 blocks,
illi had 8 assists and 3 digs and Anderson had 9 assists and 4 digs.
St, Luke’s 16-21
Hartselle’s Zuck scored six kills, 4 digs and 4 aces, Powell had 3 kills, 3 aces and 5 digs, Jordan Finn added 7 digs and a kill, Hanserd had two kills and five blocks, Key had 3 kills and 2 blocks, Cheatham had two kills, an ace and 3 digs, Bili had 7 assists 2 kills and a dig and Anderson had 9 assists and 6 digs.
Powell paced Hartselle with7 kills and 3 digs, Zuck added 4 kills, 4 digs and an ace, Finn had 5 digs and two kills, Bili had 6 assists and 4 digs and Anderson had 7 assists and a dig.
Mt. Brook 25-25
Zuck led Hartselle with five kills, two digs, three aces and a block. Powell had three kills eight digs and an ace; Finn had eight digs, Hanserd had three kills, two digs and two blocks, Key had two kills, Cheatham had two aces and a block, Billi had six assists and two digs and Anderson had four assists and three digs.