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Cobras avenge preseason loss

STEVE LEE
Published September 28, 2003

HUDSON - Hudson coach Linda McQuade discounted Land O'Lakes win against her team in the final of a preseason tournament at Hudson.

She did not want to lose to the Gators again.

The host Cobras (11-1) beat Land O'Lakes on Saturday in the Suncoast tournament final.

In a match that became a test of endurance, the Sunshine Athletic Conference rivals went the distance in a best three-of-five final. Hudson rallied from a 25-20 loss to Land O'Lakes before 25-19 and 25-20 wins. The Gators' 25-18 win forced a fifth game that the Cobras won 15-11.

"I'm glad we got to play a team that made us move," McQuade said. "We haven't had a lot of that. We were testing our fitness level today."

Land O'Lakes tested its stamina with two players on the bench for the final. Alison Foster (ankle sprain), Brittany Miles (broken finger), Shannon Aitken (ACT test) and Hannah Newhall (personal reason) did not play in the tournament. Desiree Segobiano played in four matches but had to leave before the final to play with her club soccer team.

"My girls have been self-destructing lately, but they've really pulled themselves together," Gators coach Stephanie Voorhees said. "They're making adjustments for missing players."

That they have. Land O'Lakes (10-5) lost three matches - against Mitchell, Ridgewood and River Ridge - before the tournament. The Gators got back on track with tournament victories over Zephyrhills, Pinellas Park, Bloomingdale and St. Petersburg.

"I think I honestly have the best players in the county, and when they start playing as a team they show that," Voorhees said.

McQuade could make a better case for her team. Hudson defeated St. Petersburg, Cocoa Beach, Deltona and Pinellas Park before its win over Land O'Lakes.

"I thought they did a great job," McQuade said.

The Cobras took a 2-0 lead in the fifth game when April Slate's shot went long and Erica Lux got a kill.

Courtney Law's three consecutive service points, a couple of key blocks by Allyson Ray and an ace by Krista Aguis gave Hudson an 11-3 lead.

The Gators closed the gap on Jessica Gagnon's three straight service points, and Erika Cagle served two points to cut the Cobras' lead to 12-10.

Amanda Kuerner took over from there, slamming down to kill shots and scoring on a tap over the net to clinch it for Hudson.

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