Houston sophomore Kylee Elmore hits past a pair of Mountain View-Liberty defenders in the opening set of Tuesday’s district semifinal at Cabool High School. The Lady Tigers lost 25-23, 25-22.

CABOOL ––The Houston High School volleyball team’s season may have ended, but not without a fight.

Facing the defending district champions on Tuesday night, HHS hung tough in both sets before eventually losing 25-23, 25-22 to Mountain View-Liberty in the semifinals of the Class 2 District 9 tournament.

Houston, which opened district play Monday with a 25-17, 25-21 victory against Willow Springs, completed the 2012 season with a 12-17-2 record under second-year coach Skye Carrasquillo.

Mountain Grove, the district’s top seed, defeated Liberty in straight sets later Tuesday night to win the district championship.

The Lady Tigers started strong in the semifinals by scoring six of the match’s first seven points. Senior Alexa Ichord had a kill and block during the early spurt.

Liberty, the tournament’s second seed, slowly closed the gap and pulled even at 10-all to set up a back-and-forth finish. There were nine ties the rest of the set as neither team could pull away.

The Lady Eagles (28-7-1) took their biggest advantage at 18-15. HHS responded with three straight points –– highlighted by an Ichord kill –– to pull even. The set was tied at 22, 22 and 23 before Liberty scored the final two points to win the opening game.

Junior Sydney Cremer had a pair of kills and Megan Silveus added a block as No. 3 Houston scored the first three points of the second set. After Liberty used a 7-1 run to take the lead, the Lady Tigers had three straight points to pull even at 7-all. But the Lady Eagles scored five of the next six points and never trailed the rest of the way.

In Monday’s opener, Houston rallied from an 8-4 deficit in the first set and 8-1 hole in the second in a comeback victory against sixth-seeded Willow Springs.

Sophomore Kylee Elmore sparked the first-set rally with a pair of aces as part of a 13-1 run. Senior Amber Sillyman had two of the team’s seven aces during a 10-1 rally in the second set.

Monday’s matches

First round

Cabool defeated Licking, 2-0

Liberty defeated Plato, 2-0

Houston defeated Willow Springs, 2-0

Tuesday’s matches

Semifinals

Mountain Grove defeated Cabool, 2-0

Liberty defeated Houston, 2-0

Championship

Mountain Grove defeated Liberty, 2-0

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