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Mustangs' Senior Night is memorable for a double loss - the match and sole possession of SAC title.
By JOHN C. COTEY
Published October 11, 2006
TRINITY - It was Senior Night all the way around Tuesday at Mitchell.
The Mustangs received flowers, got to bring their parents down on the court, had sweet little missives read to them by the underclassmen.
The Hudson seniors, however, got something better.
A victory, their first over Mitchell, and perhaps a Sunshine Athletic Conference title to boot.
Taking advantage of the slow-starting Mustangs, the Cobras put an end to Mitchell's conference title hopes with a 25-18, 25-22, 23-25, 19-25, 15-12 victory. With a win Thursday over River Ridge, the Cobras (7-0 SAC) can claim the conference title. A loss creates a three-way tie between Hudson, Mitchell and River Ridge, splitting the award for the third time in four years.
"We'd rather have it outright," Hudson coach Linda McQuade said. "I told the girls it's time to bring it back home."
Mitchell, which has beaten River Ridge, could have clinched its first SAC title, but now can only hope to split it a third time.
"We had a chance to win it on the court," coach Keith Paulk said. "We didn't take advantage. I'm not going to sit around hoping for a tie."
The Mustangs will limp into the postseason after one of its toughest losses. They fell behind 22-10 and 22-14 in the first two games before losing, then after rallying to force a fifth game fell behind 11-4.
Despite a valiant comeback led by Heather Zappacosta and Lea Weber, the Mustangs got no closer than 13-12. Zappacosta hit long to set up match point, and Ashley Stager got a piece of Kelsey Russo's kill try the following point but not enough to stop the ball from landing in the Mitchell court.
Despite the efforts of Weber, Hudson's Lara Metz was too much for the Mustangs to handle.
When Mitchell had a 7-0 run to close within 22-17 in Game 1, a Metz kill got the Cobras back on serve. In the following game, another Metz kill put an end to another 7-0 run that pulled Mitchell within 22-21.
In the decisive game, Metz produced three of Hudson' first eight points on kills, and it was only when she rotated to the back row that Mitchell made it close.
"I really, really wanted to beat Mitchell," said Metz, who had a match-high 22 kills. "This was our biggest match of the season."