Spring Hill Clinches Fourth Consecutive Volleyball Regional Tournament Appearance in Win vs. Crandall
TYLER -- Another year, another trip to the Class 3A Region II tournament for Spring Hill's Lady Panthers.
Spring Hill controlled Tuesday night's match against Crandall from start to finish. Sophomore Ann Hollas got rolling and finished with 18 kills to lead the third-ranked Lady Panthers to a 25-19, 25-18, 25-17.
The win sends Spring Hill to its fourth consecutive 3A Region II semifinal appearance. Spring Hill (37-2) faces Celina at 6 p.m. Friday at Poteet High School in Mesquite. The Lady Panthers have suffered regional semifinal defeats each of the last three seasons.
"The team knows what to expect when they get there, and they know the frustration we have met three times and not moved on to that championship game," said coach Karen Brundrett. "We are very focused. We're gonna give it everything we have to get past that first game."
Spring Hill senior Rachel Riestenberg had two kills, one block, and 32 assists, while sophomore Jenna Hampton had six kills and four blocks during Tuesday's sweep of Crandall, which finished the year 27-10.
Junior Mikai Brown had seven kills, one ace, and 12 digs. Senior Jacey Fleet added three kills, one block, one ace, and 11 digs, while junior Audrey Collier contributed two kills, two assists, one block, and eight digs to complement the big night from Hollas.
"She is such a coachable kid. She puts the team first. She does whatever we ask her to do, and she doesn't want any of the spotlight," Brundrett said. "She really hammered the ball well."
Senior Lauren Schrader led Crandall with eight kills and one block. Senior Sommer Lee had six kills and one block, followed by five kills and two blocks from classmate Melissa Murray. Senior Alex Harris led Crandall with 16 assists. Junior Breanna Barber had seven assists and senior Alexis Gipson had three kills. The Lady Pirates also got a strong defensive performance from senior libero Kerstin Knight.
Spring Hill built a 13-7 Game 1 lead before Crandall narrowed the gap to 18-17. The Lady Panthers finished the first set with a 7-2 run to take a 1-0 match advantage.
Crandall fell behind early, caught Spring Hill at 7-7, and trailed 12-11 when the Lady Panthers staged a 6-1 Game 2 run to take control. Crandall got no closer than 18-14 before falling in a 2-0 match hole.
Spring Hill again started fast to claim a 12-7 Game 3 lead. Crandall cut the deficit to 15-13, but the Lady Panthers pulled away and ended the match with a 10-4 run.
"We have been very focused since last Thursday on, this is our next step and our goal. We know that the matches are going to get tougher and we've got to cut back on our mistakes," Brundrett said. "We did cut back, but there were some areas that I feel like we can improve on. Crandall did a great job."
The winner of Friday's regional semifinal faces Decatur or Paris North Lamar in Saturday's 1 p.m. Region II championship at Poteet High School in Mesquite.