LAUREL HILL When the sting from Tuesday's season-ending loss subsides, Laurel Hill will look back on another accomplishment-packed season. However, there will always be that "what if."


LAUREL HILL When the sting from Tuesday's season-ending loss subsides, Laurel Hill will look back on another accomplishment-packed season.

However, there will always be that "what if."

Laurel Hill dropped all three sets to Blountstown in the Region 1-1A semifinals. The Hoboes lost 25-13 in the opener and despite leading the second set 13-4 lost 25-22, a back-breaker before the 25-17 finale.

"It's always tougher," Laurel Hill coach Kent Zessin said of a competitive match. "We didn't play our best and that showed with seven sophomores. I still am proud of the team and they were a joy to coach."

Blountstown, the District 2 runner-up, didn't lead the second set until 17-16 and even trailed 21-19 before winning six of the final seven points.

What if Laurel Hill had won that set and tied the match?

"If we had won one of the sets," Zessin said, "then it would've been a different match. That would've changed it."

Despite the tough result, Laurel Hill (20-5) did not give in. The third set remained competitive until Blountstown (22-7) turned a 16-15 lead into a 9-2 run.

"It shows our love for the sport," said setter Morgan Meeks, one of three Laurel Hill seniors along with Bridget Zessin and Ashley Hatfield. "I wish we could've played together more, but there isn't a team I'd rather play my senior year with than this one."

Laurel Hill, the District 1 champion, boasts four district titles under Zessin's coaching and can be proud of another 20-win season. Yet, the Hoboes with Zessin as coach still never have advanced beyond the region semifinals.

Last season, Laurel Hill lost a five-set match to Blountstown after the Hoboes led 2-0. When the teams played this year, Blountstown again topped Laurel Hill.

Bridget Zessin led Laurel Hill with 14 kills and three aces. Meeks led the team in assists.