BIRMINGHAM — Move over Hartselle High School baseball, football, and girls golf, basketball and softball — there’s another state champion in town.
The new Class 5A champion volleyball team wants some space in the trophy case when the students filter into the soon-to-open new high school.
Hartselle won its first state title in volleyball, downing rival St. Paul’s 3-0 Thursday morning at the Birmingham Crossplex. The victory was that much sweeter because St. Paul’s eliminated the Tigers from the Elite Eight twice in the past four years, including the 2011 semifinals. So forgive junior outside hitter Taylor Lybarger if she was a little exuberant in the post-victory celebration.
“(St. Paul’s) put us out I don’t know how many times,” she said after Thursday’s 25-21, 25-23, 25-21 victory. “It was our turn. That was probably the best everybody on our team has ever played. It felt amazing, but I knew we were going to do it the whole year.
“When we finally won it, I think everybody just kind of went crazy.”
Hartselle qualified for the Elite Eight each of the past seven seasons before finally breaking through. Hartselle snapped a streak of two consecutive St. Paul’s championships. The Saints had won five of the past six Class 5A titles.
“Our team wanted it more than any other team out here,” said tournament MVP Taylor Dellinger, who is only a sophomore.
“The whole team came together, and it most definitely was a team effort,” coach Tanya Lybarger said.
What made it more special for team members was finishing off another ritual.
“We have a volleyball that has area, super regionals and state on it and we check off each one,” Taylor Lybarger said. “We don’t want to end the year with one of those not checked off. We did that last year.”
Not registered? Click here
|High School Sports||@DecaturPreps|