TRINITY — Anclote had designs on upsetting top-seeded Hudson in its Class 4A, District 7 semifinal Wednesday at Mitchell.
In the end, though, the Sharks will have to be content with throwing a major scare into the Cobras.
Anclote, the No. 4 seed, had opportunities to knock off Hudson. The Sharks pressured a timid Hudson team by hustling to every ball and keeping points alive.
After splitting the opening two games, Hudson pulled away late in the final two games to advance to tonight’s district championship with a 17-25, 25-8, 25-22, 26-24 victory.
“Anclote’s very scrappy,” Hudson coach Kortney Newton said. “They picked up everything. They’re an awesome defensive team.”
Anclote shocked Hudson in the opening game when tied at 13 the Sharks (19-7) won seven of the next eight points to pull away.
Hudson (16-6) bullied its way to a 12-3 lead to easily win Game 2.
“We shook that opening game off and played our game,” Hudson sophomore Logan McGee said. “My team picked it up and got it together.”
The rest of the match was nip-and-tuck, both teams having their chances. Tied at 21 in Game 3, Hudson went ahead on an Anclote service error and an ace from Kandace Dewitt. Hudson’s Paige Winters finished off the game with an ace.
Anclote grabbed a 23-22 lead late in Game 4 but had two more service errors to give Hudson the lead. McGee ended the tension-filled match with her 12th kill.
“It was so scary. I really thought we were done after that opening game,” McGee said.
Cheye-anne Savage led Hudson with 14 kills. Lacey Carley had nine aces and 27 digs, and Winters had 32 assists for the Cobras.
Mitchell had no such problems with Gulf in the nightcap.
Behind the powerful serving of junior Devon Felts, Mitchell finished off the Buccaneers 25-11, 25-12, 25-20.
Felts served 29 times for the second-seeded Mustangs (18-8), recording six aces and countless others that were unreturned.
“I don’t really aim at all. I just kind of throw it up and swing at it,” Felts said. “Wherever it goes, it goes.”
Felts’ laser-like serves often found the soft spots on Gulf’s side. She ran off nine straight points on her serve in Game 1 to give the Mustangs a 13-2 advantage against third-seeded Gulf (7-11).
With Mitchell holding an 11-9 lead in Game 3, Felts served two consecutive aces followed by another serve the Buccaneers couldn’t return.
“When they’re chasing balls down and giving us a free ball, that’s as good as an ace,” Mitchell coach Keith Paulk said. “If they give us a free ball, we’re going to send it back down hard.”
Mitchell had 10 aces and kept the Buccaneers off balance all night with its serving.
“Tonight we did what we have not done consistently during the season, and it was the right time for it to happen,” Mustangs coach Keith Paulk said. “We got our streaks, but we did not let (Gulf) have any big streaks.”
Senior middle hitter Devan Dampier had a team-high nine kills to pace Mitchell.