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Hartselle Enquirer

Tigers aim to continue 2004 success this year

By Staff
Justin Schuver, Hartselle Enquirer
After setting a school record with 56 wins in 2004, the Tigers are anxious to get back on the court and prove that their play from last season was no fluke.
They'll have to do it without two key pieces of last year's dominant team, after losing 2004 captains Sarah Whitlow and Sarah McNutt to graduation.
"I have my other middle coming back and we moved up our JV middle, Dana Lacey," Hartselle coach Tanya Lybarger said of her plan to replace the production of Whitlow and McNutt. "My center, Kayla Orr, is going to step in and hopefully be able to help replace Sarah Whitlow. There's not really a replacement for (Whitlow and McNutt); they're great players and great girls."
This year's Hartselle squad will be younger and less experienced, but don't think that means they will be any less talented.
Senior middle hitter Shan Jones will be a large part of the team's offensive game in 2005.
"I'd say my other middle, will be moving to the front position. Shan Jones is a really strong middle hitter," Lybarger said. "I've got two outside hitters that played last year, they've got a bit of experience. I think on the front row we should be pretty strong, and we're fairly big.
"We've got four girls right around the 5-10, 5-11 mark, so that's always good. I'm depending a lot on some younger girls who are coming up from the JV team for my passing and defense."
Hartselle was ranked as high as No. 2 in Class 5A last season, but suffered a disappointing finish to the year after losing in the region tournament. Eventual state champion Huntsville won the tournament.
"The girls have set the goal of wanting to make it to state this year," Lybarger said. "Our region is tough and our area is tough also. Muscle Shoals is a very tough competitor, but they've lost a few key players from last year. I'd say we're pretty even with them. I'm hoping that we can make it through our area and advance to regionals.
"Of course, in the regionals you've got Huntsville, but they've also lost two very key players."
The Tigers open their season with matches against Decatur and Florence in Decatur Aug. 25. Hartselle's first home match at the Pettey Center is Aug. 29 against Lee and Catholic.

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