BIRMINGHAM –Spanish Fort and Hazel Green high schools both turned in spectacular defensive efforts in the AHSAA Class 6A State Volleyball finals Thursday with the Toros pulling out a 25-22, 25-23, 23-25, 21-25, 15-6 marathon win to capture the school’s second state title in the last four years.
Just how incredible was the defense? The Toros (65-5) of Coach Gretchen Boykin registered 121 team digs and the Trojans had 102. Class 6A tourney MVP Avery Rodgers, who had 24 kills, sparked Spanish Fort to a hard-fought 2-0 lead before the momentum shifted in games 3 and 4. Setter Kayla Keshock finished the match with 51 assists for the Toros while Taylor Fontenelle had 30 digs and Meg Brachan had 28. Kamble Frenette also had 13 kills.
Hazel Green (60-12), coached by CoCo Tate Hughes, had a strong performance on the net from Gracie Lynn Butler, who finished with 22 kills. Hannah Hampel added 13 and setter Catherine Smith dished out 45 assists. Defensive specialist Brittany Strope had a game-high 36 digs, Smith had 24 and Cameron Bassler had 18. Eight players, four from each team, had 10 or more digs in the grueling match.
The 65 wins by Spanish Fort and Hazel Green’s 60 triumphs are both school record. The Toros won the Class 6A title in 2015 and the Trojans won the championship in 2016. Hazel Green has seven state volleyball crowns to its credit.
The three remaining state finals will be played today with all being live-streamed by the NFHS Network.
CLASS 6A ALL-STATE TOURNAMENT TEAM
Avery Rodgers, Spanish Fort (MVP); Taylor Fontenelle, Spanish Fort; Kayla Keshock, Spanish Fort; Kamble Frenette, Spanish Fort; Catherine Smith, Hazel Green; Gracie Lynn Butler, Hazel Green; Brittany Strope, Hazel Green.
48th Annual State Volleyball Championships
THURSDAY’S CHAMPIONSHIP RESULTS
(All matches to be live-streamed over the subscriber-based NFHS Network; for more information go to www.nfhsnetwork.com)
Class 2A Championship
Addison (54-10) 3, Winston County (33-15) 2 (25-21, 20-25, 19-25, 15-8)
Class 7A Championship
McGill-Toolen Catholic (48-5) 3, Bob Jones (37-11) 0 (25-17, 25-8, 25-23)
Class 5A Championship