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BRADENTON — In four regular-season matches, Northside Christian routinely dispatched its overmatched opponents to clinch the No. 1 seed in Class 2A, District 11. The Mustangs were so dominant they lost only one game in that four-match sweep.
So it was widely assumed Northside Christian would administer a thrashing to No. 5 seed Admiral Farragut, which outlasted No. 4 Shorecrest in five games to reach the semifinals.
It took a while, but the Mustangs recorded another sweep, beating the Blue Jackets 25-19, 25-16, 25-9.
Northside (17-6) will play No. 3 seed Bradenton St. Stephen’s in Thursday’s final at 7. The host Falcons beat No. 2 Sarasota Out-of-Door Academy in three games in the other semifinal.
“We didn’t play as well as we could have, but we got better as the match went along,” Mustangs coach Kelly Jackson said.
But the sheen of dominance Northside displayed during its spectacular run against district opponents in the regular season was replaced by the vacant stares of shock, at least early in Tuesday’s semifinal.
The quarterfinal win against the Chargers seemed to transform Admiral Farragut, which was playing with nothing on the line other than competitive spirit, into contenders.
Trailing 9-3 in the first game, the Blue Jackets cut the deficit to 15-14 before the Mustangs bore down to win.
The second game was similar to the first with Northside jumping ahead 7-0 before Admiral Farragut rallied to make it 10-8. But the Blue Jackets could get no closer.
The Mustangs put it all together in the third game, going up 20-5 en route to the win.
Jennica Mullins had 10 kills and three blocks, Lauren Tozour had 11 kills and Chelsea Bariteau had 12 digs to lead Northside.