BIRMINGHAM – The Hatton Hornets came up just short of the state finals./
The Hornets competed in the 2A state tournament Tuesday, winning their first game over Ariton 3-0, but losing in the semifinals to Orange Beach 3-1, missing out on what would have been their first finals appearance since 2002.
“Last year we got to the elite eight, this year the final four, so we’re getting better,” said Hatton head coach Amy Speegle. “I told them (after the game) to hold their chins up they have nothing to be ashamed of. Be proud to be one of the four best teams in 2A.”
Hatton defeated Ariton 3-0 in the quarterfinals to advance to a 2A semifinal matchup with Orange Beach.
After dropping the first set 25-20, the Hornets rebounded to dominate the second set 25-12. They couldn’t keep the momentum going through as they fell in the final two sets 25-15 and 25-22.
“I thought we played well in the first set and then we corrected everything we needed to in the second set,” said Hatton head coach Amy Speegle. “But in that third set we got down a little, and then we got down some more and it was just like we were ready for the set to be over. In a game like this you just can't afford to forget about a set and go on to the next one.”
Kailyn Quails led Hatton with 17 kills, while Bradyn Mitchell had 11 kills and 10 digs. Dagen Brown had 35 assists.
Despite the loss, Speegle was pleased with her team’s performance and the standard they set. The Hornets will; return all but one player next year.
“I told them this is something to build on. Every experience we get is something to grow on,” Speegle said. “We learned a lot about ourselves.; How do we handle pressure? Do we retreat, can we push through? Those are lessons that we can carry, not only into volleyball next year, but into basketball and softball.”