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Knights take Suncoast title

By WAYNE GRUMET

© St. Petersburg Times, published October 1, 2000


HUDSON -- It's not that River Ridge hasn't gotten any attention -- it is currently ranked 10th in the Class 5A poll. The problem has been that top-ranked Hudson has been hogging the spotlight.

Hudson also had been dominating its tournament, the Suncoast Invitational. The Cobras have won the past three events. River Ridge took care of that, bumping Hudson out of the spotlight in the semifinals.

River Ridge then edged Ridgewood 16-14, 15-13 in the final. River Ridge (16-2) started the final flat, falling behind 7-2. The Knights fought back and reclaimed the lead at 15-14.

"Ridgewood beat us on their home court, and we were ready to play them," River Ridge coach Heidi Castelamare said. "We know we can play with them. They're a good team, but we have some better defensive play."

Ridgewood (11-4) kept firing at River Ridge, led by Alayna Sherwood, who had nine kills and five blocks. River Ridge's defense kept fighting, digging to keep points alive.

River Ridge's Brandi Young had the magic touch, collecting 15 service points and three aces. She served the final five points to take the first game. She then ran off seven service points to give the Knights a 13-8 lead in the second.

"I had help. They played awesome in the front row and back row while I was serving," Young said. "It wasn't just me."

Dawn Conner set the table for River Ridge, tallying seven assists. Jen Dombrowski battled Ridgewood's towering front line, collecting seven blocks and three kills.

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