The Houston volleyball team’s 2017 season ended Monday with a district-opening loss.

The fifth-seeded Lady Tigers struggled from the get-go and were defeated 25-14, 25-16 by No. 4 Cabool in the first round of Class 2 District 9.

“It was a really disappointing end to the season,” Lady Tigers coach Loran Richardson said. “We had played Cabool so close earlier in the season, and it just looked like we were either scared to death or didn’t care.”

Cabool advanced to Tuesday’s championship match by upsetting top-seeded Liberty later Monday night. The Lady Bulldogs will play No. 2 Willow Springs, who beat Licking in the semifinals. The Lady Wildcats topped Sparta in the first round.

Houston completed its season with a 5-24 record.

Sophomore Janae Huff led the Lady Tigers with four kills and two aces. Alexis Choate had seven assists.

{{tncms-inline alignment=”right” content=”<p><strong>Monday’s matches</strong></p> <p><em>First round</em></p> <p>Cabool def. Houston, 2-0</p> <p>Licking def. Sparta, 2-0</p> <p>Semifinals</p> <p>Cabool def. Liberty, 2-1</p> <p>Willow Springs def. Licking, 2-0</p> <p><strong>Tuesday’s match</strong></p> <p><em>Championship</em></p> <p>(4) Cabool vs. (2) Willow Springs, 7 p.m.</p>” id=”18a97965-7934-498d-96d6-7a08d03b4ccd” style-type=”bio” title=”Bio Box” type=”relcontent” width=”half”}}

Melody Buse had 12 digs. Tara Stanton had a team-best two blocks.

Houston, which lost to Cabool 25-23, 25-23 on Sept. 14, took a 6-5 lead in the opening set on Huff’s ace. The Lady Bulldogs then scored 15 of the next 17 points to take a commanding 20-8 advantage.

Houston had four hitting errors, two double hits and a missed serve during Cabool’s rally.

The second set was tied 6-all after consecutive blocks by Stanton. Cabool again went on a long run – this time nine of 12 points – to take the lead for good.

“As a coach, that is one of the most frustrating aspects: knowing that your players are capable of doing better, and they just didn’t do it,” Richardson said.

The match was the final one for Houston seniors Chloe Hunninghake, Sevanna Rowland and Brooke McCown.

“I hate that it ended that way for the seniors as well. No one likes to end their career in that way,” Richardson said.

“We have a lot of work to do in the offseason. The girls will have to be dedicated to get it done.”

Monday’s matches

First round

Cabool def. Houston, 2-0

Licking def. Sparta, 2-0

Semifinals

Cabool def. Liberty, 2-1

Willow Springs def. Licking, 2-0

Tuesday’s match

Championship

(4) Cabool vs. (2) Willow Springs, 7 p.m.

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