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Hartselle volleyball falls to Spanish Fort in state semifinals

The Hartselle Lady Tigers volleyball girls saw their season end with a three-set loss to Spanish Fort in the Class 6A semi-finals Wednesday at the CrossPlex in Birmingham. 

The Lady Tigers were looking to advance to the state championship match for the first time since winning it all in 2012. 

Hartselle opened the state championship with a hard-fought four-set victory over No 4 Chelsea 3-1 with scores of 19-25, 26-24, 25-23 and 25-20. 

With the win, the Lady Tigers advanced to the semifinals to face No. 1 Spanish Fort. The two teams have faced each other three times during the season, with the Toros winning each matchup. 

Spanish Fort held a size advantage – three players listed at 6-foot-1 and five more at 5-foot-10 – over the Lady Tigers. 

Hartselle stayed close to Spanish Fort in the first set, losing by a 25-23 score. The experienced Toros, however, would go on to defeat the Lady Tigers 25-16 and 25-17 in the second and third sets. 

Spanish Fort went on to defeat Hazel Green to win the 2019 state championship. 

Hartselle’s stat leaders for the championship were Hailey Holshouser with 22 kills and 16 digs, Lillyanna Cartee with 10 kills and 27 digs, Grace Leighton with 40 assists and Tori Hughes with 17 digs. 

The Lady Tigers season ends with 68-11 record. The 68 wins are a school record. 

Hartselle will graduate two seniors from this year’s team, Breanna Alexander and Alli Parker.   

Even with the loss, Coach Tanya Lybarger and her team said they are looking forward to next season with a lot of excitement, given the experience that will return.