Houston senior Lauren Hoover dives for a ball in Tuesday's district semifinals against Cabool.

MOUNTAIN VIEW — The Houston volleyball team trailed by three points in the decisive third set of the district semifinals when senior Haylee Kell crumbled to the floor with a head injury. Although she later returned, the Lady Tigers struggled without her.

Cabool scored eight of the next 10 points following Kell’s injury and downed second-seeded Houston 25-23, 16-25, 25-16 Tuesday night in the Class 2 District 3 tournament.

Houston, which received a first-round bye, trailed 6-3 when Kell was kicked in the head by a teammate. She was helped to the sidelines and after being cleared by a trainer, was able to return. But Houston trailed 21-11 at that point.

“When Haylee got hurt, it really set us back,” first-year HHS coach Skye Carrasquillo said. “When you don’t have one of your seniors on the floor, it changes the atmosphere.”

The Lady Tigers, who had topped Cabool in three sets the previous week, finished 13-17-2.

Mountain View-Liberty defeated Cabool in straight sets to win the district championship.

Houston raced ahead 7-1 in the opening set and led 15-8. But Cabool chipped away at the advantage, took its first lead at 18-17 and never trailed the rest of the set.

The Lady Tigers again raced ahead in the second set. This time, they didn’t lose the advantage.

Junior Amber Sillyman’s ace gave HHS a 15-9 lead. Alexa Ichord and Kell had consecutive kills to make it 19-10, and Cabool never got closer than seven points the remainder of the set.

Cabool scored the first four points of the third set and pulled away after Kell’s injury.

It was the final match for seniors Kell and Lauren Hoover.

“I had fun with the girls this year,” Carrasquillo said, “and look forward to next year.”

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