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State volleyball: Durant one victory away from crown

The Cougars face several tense moments but win many of the crucial points to advance.

By KEITH NIEBUHR
Published November 17, 2007


LAKELAND - Dawn Hough's bachelorette party was supposed to be this weekend. But the Durant coach, who is getting married next week, has had a slight change of plans.

She won't be in South Florida to party.

She'll be at the Lakeland Center with her team trying to win a state title.

The Cougars, whom Hough once played for, defeated Jupiter 25-22, 25-22, 23-25, 25-22 on Friday night in one Class 6A state semifinal.

Durant faces Gainesville Buchholz at 7 tonight with a chance to claim the program's first state championship since 2002 and its fourth overall.

"This," Hough said, "is everything I wanted for the girls. Everything."

Durant (22-6) won the way it has all season - getting contributions from just about every player.

The strongest play came from outside hitter Stephanie Eukovich (14 kills, 20 digs), middle blocker Kelsey Horton (11 kills, 19 digs), outside hitter Chelsea Morris (13 kills), setter Alexa Donini (37 assists) and middle blocker Aly Anzalone (five kills, 11 digs).

"They played as a unit," Hough said. "When one was down, another one picked them up."

The match had several tense moments, but Durant won most of the crucial points.

Jupiter (23-8) outside hitter Brooke Kohler, who will play for Clemson, sparked the Warriors with 19 kills.

In the fourth game, Durant built a 19-12 lead, then hung on down the stretch. Jupiter closed to within 22-21, but Durant regained control. On match point, Horton smashed a powerful kill to end it.

Buchholz beat Durant this season 25-11, 25-18, 25-21. But the Cougars insist they won't be intimidated.

"We're a different team now," Hough said.