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Spongers, Cobras advance


© St. Petersburg Times, published October 26, 2000

HUDSON -- Tarpon Springs got a tougher match than it expected while Hudson did not as both advanced to tonight's Class 4A, District 7 championship.

The Spongers (11-12) dropped the first game to upstart Land O'Lakes but fought back to take a 7-15, 15-8, 15-11 victory.

Hudson's toughest opponent was probably boredom as it easily put away Zephyrhills 15-3, 15-3.

Just a year after reaching the Class 4A final four for the first time in school history, the Bulldogs ended their season 4-22. The match also was the last for coach Pat Moul, who had announced previously she would step down after the tournament.

Hudson (21-4) made it quick and painless.

While the Bulldogs played gritty volleyball early, they were no match for Hudson's superior play at the net.

Leading 6-3, the Cobras ran off 25 consecutive points to close out Game 1 and open a 10-0 lead in the final game.

"We wanted to come out and show some intensity," outside hitter Kathleen Cook said. "I think we did that."

Cook filled in for the injured Nikki Prack, moving up from her back row position and doing an outstanding job with three kills and six service points.

Alison Baker, Pasco County's leader in kills, led the Cobras with five. Hudson was able to run some plays for its less experienced players as Jackie Law (three kills) and Tarah Marinelli (four kills) had good outings.

Hudson will try to win its sixth district championship in seven years while securing a home match for Tuesday's first round of regionals.

Land O'Lakes (12-13) almost made it an all-Pasco final. After winning the first game and losing the second, the Gators rallied from a 10-4 deficit in the third to tie it at 10 behind Amber Slate's serving and two huge blocks by Alison Foster.

But the Gators failed to get into their offense after that, and Tarpon scored five of the last six points.

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