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Hartselle Enquirer

Danville dominates foes to sweep to championship

DECATUR – Danville’s five seniors were just sophomores when the Lady Hawks won their last Morgan County volleyball championship two years ago.
The seniors – Lindsay Simmons, Lacey Evans, Ashley Nance, Kaitlin Wallace and Morgan Doherty – and the rest of the Lady Hawks’ lineup made short work of their four matches Thursday in the county tournament at Decatur Heritage.
The Lady Hawks, now 43-17 overall and ranked fifth in the state, didn’t lose a game on the way to claiming their second county championship in three years.
Danville beat Brewer 25-18, 25-13 to win the county championship and set off a celebration led by the team’s senior class.
“We just wanted to be county champions again,” said Evans after the championship. “It’s a great feeling. It’s just unbelievable.”
Evans led the Lady Hawks with 29 kills, while Doherty finished with seven aces in the tournament. Simmons and Nance chipped in with 39 and 38 kills respectively.
Wallace had 79 assists in the four games.
Nance and Sydni Shelton had four blocks each.
Danville has lost seven times this season – including three times to Hartselle – and the Lady Hawks were eager to face the Lady Tigers again just before next week’s area tournament.
“We really expected Hartselle to get to the finals and we wanted to make sure we got there,” Simmons said. “We really wanted to beat them and we did. It just wasn’t in the championship.”
Nance, Simmons, Evans and Wallace were named to the all-tournament team. Brewer’s Hannah Crawford, Caitlin Rush and Riley Northway also earned all-tournament honors.
Brewer finished 3-1 in the tournament to improve to 19-18 on the year.
The Lady Patriots got four kills from Cheyenne McLemore, while Northway added a pair of kills in the championship match.
Reed Sowder had three assists and Noel Brown finished with a team-high five digs.
“Brewer played really well today,” Cole said. “They were impressive. Ron (Smith) did a great job making adjustments and preparing them for our match.”
Danville beat Priceville 25-14, 25-15 and Decatur 25-19, 25-13 in pool play to reach the opening round of bracket play.
The Hawks, who had been expecting a possible showdown with Hartselle in the championship later that night, found themselves paired with the Lady Tigers by virtue of Brewer’s surprise 25-23, 25-19 upset of Hartselle in the first round of pool play.
Hartselle rallied with an easy 25-7, 25-14 victory over Decatur Heritage to finish second in its pool to set up the matchup with Danville.
Hartselle had beaten Danville in their other meetings earlier in the season, but the Lady Tigers never got untracked.
Danville beat Hartselle 25-20, 25-22 in the first-round game in bracket play and had little trouble until Hartselle rallied late in the second game to tie it at 21-21 after trailing by as many as 10 points.
After the emotional win, the biggest task for the Lady Hawks was trying to stay focused on the championship match.
“We were pretty excited after the Hartselle win,” Cole said. “We really gutted it out against Hartselle, especially when we had some trouble in that second game.
“When the offense is working, everything just clicks. But defense keeps you in games. We were getting the digs and we were keeping the ball off the floor. That was key for us all night.”
In other pool play matches, Brewer finished 2-0 in its pool with wins over Hartselle and Decatur Heritage 25-13, 25-15.
Priceville finished second in Danville’s pool with a 24-26, 25-21, 15-10 win over Decatur to advance to bracket play.
The Lady Bulldogs followed that up with a win over West Morgan to earn the shot at Brewer in the semifinals.
Hartselle’s Chelsea Bennich – the team’s lone senior – and Olivia Golden were named to the all-tournament team. They were joined by Priceville’s Jordan Crow and Katie Barker; Falkville’s Hilary Eason; West Morgan’s Holly Bowman and Delisa Tidwell; Decatur Heritage’s Sarah Armstrong; Decatur’s Constance Steele; and Austin’s Payton Mansell and Kayla Miller.

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