Spain Park wins area title, advances to super regionals

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor 

HOOVER – The Spain Park Jaguars capped off a dominant season of area play on Tuesday, Oct. 14, by easily running through Gadsden City and Vestavia Hills on Wednesday, Oct. 14, to claim the 2020 area championship in front of their home crowd.

The Jaguars left no doubt as to who the best team was in Class 7A, Area 6 by defeating both Gadsden City and Vestavia Hills in straight sets to claim the title.

In the opening match against the Titans, the Jags left no doubt winning the three sets by scores of 25-10, 25-5 and 25-5. But the biggest positive for Spain Park in the opening match of the area tournament was getting to alternate their starters more often for rest because of the dominance, while the match also ended in less than 45 minutes.

That not only led to a confident Spain Park team heading into the championship match having already earned a spot in Super Regionals with the opening win, but also a fresh team.

Vestavia, on the other, hand was forced to play back to back matches after downing Hewitt-Trussville directly after the Jags’ first win.

And in the championship match, Spain Park continued its dominant night.

Vestavia jumped out to 1-0, 2-1 and 4-5 leads, but after the Jags tied it at 5-5, they never trailed again the rest of the night.

Following a 10-10 tie during a tight start to the opening set, Spain Park finally got back in the groove it was in during the opening match against Gadsden City, which sparked a 7-0 run.

Now up 17-10, the Jags had some breathing room, and eventually extended the run to12-2 run to take a 22-12 advantage. Spain Park closed the set out shortly after for a 25-14 victory to kick off the title match.

That strong ended gave the Jaguars all the confidence they needed. They got off to a much faster start over the next two sets, starting with a quick 6-1 lead in the second.

The Rebels went on a nice 6-4 run to cut the deficit to three points at 10-7. But after battling to a score of 13-10, the Jags again found a nice mid-set rhythm and reeled off a 7-0 run to take a 20-10 lead.

From there, Vestavia never got any closer than nine points the rest of the way, as Spain Park closed out the second set with a 25-13 win.

With exhaustion starting to set in for both and the Rebels now down 2-0 needing to win three sets in a row, it was tough for the visitors to find much of a rhythm in the third set.

Spain Park jumped out to another dominant lead at 7-0, and while the Rebels cut it to eight at 13-5, they got no closer than a seven-point deficit the rest of the way as the Jags pulled away to close the area championship with a 25-17 set win.

Audrey Rothman led the Jags in the championship match with 20 kills against Vestavia, while Emily Breazeale added six and Alanah Pooler had five.

Rothman also led the team with two aces and tied for the team lead with two blocks, while Clara Paulsen and Paige Ingersoll also added two apiece. Lilly Johnson paved the way for the offense with 21 assists, while Brooklyn Allison posted a team high 16 assists.