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Spain Park High School’s Volleyball Team Reflects on its First State Title

November 15, 2021

(Hoover, AL) - Spain Park High School’s varsity volleyball team made school history after winning the program’s first-ever Class 7A state title.  Senior Audrey Rothman, a Florida State University volleyball signee, says she is still awestruck after the team defeated No. 2 McGill-Toolen Catholic High School in the 51st AHSAA Elite Eight State Volleyball Tournament in late October. Rothman says there were great expectations for the team but the state championship win doesn’t seem real.

Rothman said, “It still feels unreal that we actually won it. It’s something I’ve always looked forward to when I was younger.”

Rothman says being state champs is an extremely rewarding experience and it’s a big step for Spain Park High School’s volleyball program because the varsity team has been working hard to earn a state title for so many years and the accomplishment shows just how much the program has grown. 

Rothman said, “It’s just a very exciting feeling knowing how much we’ve grown, especially from where this program started when I first got here. One of the things that we really put an emphasis on was dominating on every single point. So, every time we went into practice it wasn’t so much about our end goal of winning state, we just knew that if we went out every single point of every single game and gave all of our best efforts then we would reach that goal. We’ve come from not making it out of area to our first state championship appearance last year and now winning it all this year.”

Senior Bella Halyard said, “I hope that in years to come that people can look back on this group and the way everyone came together and the way we all play together and came back, especially off of last year.  We all worked so hard and fought every game. The way we accomplished the big end goal that everyone wants, I hope people look on that and remember our drive.”

During the Hoover Board of Education’s November meeting, the Jag Volleyball team was recognized by the District and praised for its first-ever state title.  Superintendent Dr. Dee O. Fowler complimented the team for its great coaching and teamwork. He was in the stands watching the championship game at the Bill Harris Arena. 

Dr. Dee O. Fowler said,  “I want the young ladies to know how impressed I was with your hard work. You never got down. It may be 20 to 18 but you never stopped and won in three straight matches. The sportsmanship you showed and the concern you showed with each other is something I will remember. Thank you for representing Hoover City Schools.”

The team raved about the support that was evident in the student section throughout the season which meant so much to the team. Rothman says the students rallied around them and she credits the team’s success in part to the school’s encouragement.

Rothman said, “Of course, that energy coming from the sideline goes out to the court and helps keep us pushing forward.”

Spain Park’s varsity volleyball team’s head coach of eight years, Kellye Bowen, says this is the best team in the school’s history. She says the group of girls with so much talent works well together and she is beyond proud of the culture that has been established this season that the team’s seniors have played a significant role in cultivating. 

Bowen said, “I can’t express enough of the value those five seniors brought to this program and them holding up that blue trophy at the end was enough for me. It’s not about me or my assistants. It’s all about them and what they did. Not only did they win it but they won it in a dominant style. Yes, there were some close games but in big moments they made big plays.” 

The Jags finished their championship season with a record of 47-4 and were ranked sixth in the nation.