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Spring Hill Falls to Decatur in 3A Region II Volleyball Championship

Spring Hill’s Ann Hollas passes the ball while teammate Audrey Collier (8) looks on during the Lady Panthers’ win at Gilmer on Oct. 1. (Christopher Vinn,
Spring Hill’s Allison Akins. (Christopher Vinn,

MESQUITE — After three consecutive regional semifinal losses, Spring Hill got past that roadblock this season, advancing to Saturday’s Class 3A Region II title match.

But thanks to Decatur, the Lady Panthers will have to wait to try to make the next step to the state volleyball tournament.

Decatur swept Spring Hill 25-22, 25-15, 25-18 in the regional championship at Poteet High School on Saturday, ending the Lady Panthers’ stellar season at 38-3 overall.

Decatur (39-7) advances to the 3A state tournament Friday in Garland.

Spring Hill’s Jacey Fleet. (Christopher Vinn,

Saturday’s match was the final one in the high school careers of Spring Hill seniors Allison Akins (libero), Jacey Fleet (outside hitter), and Rachel Riestenberg (setter). While they were in the program at the high school level, Spring Hill played at least four rounds in the playoffs each year.

Spring Hill’s run to the regional championship match was an impressive one. The Lady Panthers did not lose a set in their first three playoff matches, sweeping Athens, Wills Point, and Crandall, none which scored more than 19 points in a game against Spring Hill.

Spring Hill’s Rachel Riestenberg. (Christopher Vinn,

Spring Hill then beat Celina in four games — 25-15, 25-21, 17-25, 25-9 — to snap the Lady Panthers’ three-year regional semifinal losing streak and advance to Saturday’s Region II championship match. Decatur has swept four of its first five playoff opponents. The lone exception was Argyle, which played Decatur to five games in the regional semifinals.

Spring Hill’s 2014 team will undoubtedly center around two players who were key contributors this year as sophomores: Ann Hollas and Jenna Hampton. The tall, athletic hitters were key cogs on this year’s Spring Hill team, which won the District 16-3A championship as part of its 38-win campaign.

Hampton and Hollas join sophomore Bethany Bell, junior Mikai Brown, junior Carlee Campbell, junior Audrey Collier, and freshman Payton White as returning players who gained playoff experience this season who veteran head coach Karen Brundrett will likely lean on next season.

Spring Hill’s Jenna Hampton tips the ball over the net during the Lady Panthers’ Sept. 3 home win against Lindale. (Christopher Vinn,

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