Spain Park surpasses 40 wins to claim area championship

Published 10:11 pm Thursday, October 14, 2021

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor

HOOVER – The Class 7A No. 1 Spain Park Jaguars started their postseason redemption path playing like the top-ranked team they are on Thursday night, Oct. 14.

Hosting the Class 7A, Area 6 tournament, the Jags, who dropped just won set against area opponents during the regular season, pulled off straight-set victories against both Gadsden City and Vestavia Hills in dominant fashion to win the area championship.

After losing in the state championship to rival Hoover a year ago, the win started Spain Park’s redemption path on the right foot, as the Jaguars will look to win their first state championship in school history this year.

In the opening match against Gadsden City, the left no doubt, holding the Titans to single digits in every set.

Spain Park set the tone early in the match, putting together several runs for a 25-7 win in the opening set for a 1-0 lead.

The clean play from the Jags helped them capitalized on mistakes from Gadsden City with a second 25-7 set victory in a row to open the match with a 2-0 lead.

That put Gadsden City in situation of needing three set wins in a row with little offensive momentum, and Spain Park capitalized by finishing off the straight-set victory with a 25-9 victory.

The Jaguars combined for 28 aces in the win, seven of which came from the serve of Audrey Rothman, while Ashley Fowler, Bella Halyard and McKinney Shea all had four aces.

Brooke Gober led the team with eight kills, while Olivia Myers had five and Rothman had four. Halyard also led the team with 10 assists.

That win locked up the Jaguars’ spot at regionals and sent them to the championship match against the Rebels.

In the championship match, the team’s two standouts at the net stepped up to bring home the title.

Rothman and Emily Breazeale became too much with a combined 39 kills, while Lilly Johnson and Halyard combined for 34 assists in another dominant effort.

Their play helped the Jags get off to another strong start with a 25-11 opening-set win for quick momentum with an already-confident group.

The Rebels, who did win the only set against the Jaguars on the regular season area schedule, bounced back with a much better effort in the second set, but it still wasn’t enough.

Spain Park was able to finish off the clutch points late for a 25-18 win to take a 2-0 lead in the match.

With that all-important set won, the Jags had all of the momentum and worked to keep the third set from being as close in a 25-13 victory to complete the sweep and claim the championship.

Rothman was the team leader with 24 kills and three aces, while Breazeale added 15 kills and eight digs. Johnson totaled 20 assists and four digs in a strong performance, while Halyard finished with 14 assists and four digs.

The Jags will now take on No. 3 Hoover in a rematch of last year’s state championship in regionals on Thursday, Oct. 21 at 10:15 a.m.