PREP VOLLEYBALL: Cullman falls in area match against Hartselle

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Cullman's Ashlen Heatherly returns a serve during the Lady Bearcats' area match against Hartselle on Tuesday. (Nick Griffin for The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala. – No. 5 Hartselle traveled to No. 9 Cullman Tuesday for an area matchup between a pair of ranked teams and despite a good effort from the Lady Bearcats, it was the Lady Tigers who came out on top in three sets. Hartselle took the first set 25-13, came from behind to win the second set 25-20 and put things away in the third set 25-15.

The Lady Tigers took an early 5-2 lead in the opening set, but Cullman was able to trim it to 9-7. Hartselle maintained a 14-12 lead later in the set but began to pull away and make it 18-13 before taking the first set 25-13.

The second set was the closest of the day, with the score knotted at 5 early on. The Lady Tigers managed to build a 13-9 advantage, but the Lady Bearcats rallied to tie the set at 14 and later take a 16-15 lead. Cullman led 19-18 late in the set but Hartselle was able to move back in front 21-20. The Lady Bearcats were held scoreless after that and dropped the second set 25-20 to fall behind 2-0.

The Lady Tigers jumped out to a fast start in the third set, taking a 5-1 lead and building it to 15-3 at one point in the set. Cullman rallied and cut the lead down to 16-11 but Hartselle responded with a scoring run that put away the Lady Bearcats 25-15.

Gracie Barksdale led Cullman with 11 kills in the match to go along with a pair of blocks while LG Evans collected 11 assists, six digs, three blocks and a kill for the Lady Bearcats. Abella Skipper finished the match with seven kills, Ashlen Heatherly racked up 16 digs and Sasha Peterson posted two kills, two digs and an assist in the loss.

(Nick Griffin for The Cullman Tribune)

Cullman will be back in action at home on Thursday when the Lady Bearcats host a tri-match with Holly Pond and Cordova.

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