HUDSON — The Hudson Cobras had visions of coming back for a five-set victory in Wednesday’s 4A-6 district semifinal, but they skimped on one detail. Hudson couldn’t close out the third set.
No. 2 seed The Villages, down 20-11 in the third, broke Hudson’s hearts and won 25-17, 25-18, 26-24 to end the Cobras’ season. The Buffalo will take on top-seeded Ocala Trinity Catholic on Friday for the title after the Celtics routed Ridgewood 25-7, 25-15, 25-14.
Hudson (10-18) had pulled off a victory after being down 2-0 to The Villages a month ago. It led 24-20 before giving up the final six points.
“We felt pretty confident we could do it again,” said coach Stephen Jones. “But in volleyball one ball, one point, one contact can change everything.”
The Villages (15-7) took advantage of a couple of balls that in no way were intended to be putaways but dropped into the right spot. But they also got stellar defense during the rally to combat the dynamite digs of Hudson’s Madison Ohling (nine in the third set), Kim Johnson (team-high 20 overall) and Ashley Dugan (15).
And Hudson made some errors. Three in a row helped the Buffalo creep back but senior co-captain Marisa Maksymkow (12 kills) seemed to have restored order with a smash to make it 21-14. A long point where Ohling and Dugan had brilliant saves put the score at 24-20 but then the Cobras faltered.
After having no kills in the first two games The Villages’ Haley Hogan finished with four, two in the closing run.
“I was nervous the first two games, but I came out of my shell,” said Hogan, a sophomore in her first win-or-go home situation. “And we wanted to get it over as quickly as possible.”
That would be due to the 1 hour, 45-minute bus trip from the Villages, a charter school taking its second trip to the postseason. On the other hand there’s Trinity Catholic, which is playoff-bound for the ninth straight year and overwhelmed Ridgewood (8-15).
The Rams have no seniors and started a freshman setter in Sara Pretto. She assisted on all six of sophomore Aubree Sigismondi’s match-high six kills. Calista Presti contributed 10 digs.
No Celtics player had more than five kills but that was due to their depth. In on seemingly every play was Trinity’s phenomenal setter Sam Blasko.
The first time Blasko got a breather, the Rams went on a 5-0 run — the first time they’d scored more than two points in a row. That made it 24-15 in the second set. But Blasko came back in and calmly set up a teammate for the closing point. Ridgewood grabbed an 11-8 lead in the third game but Trinity Catholic (14-6) responded with an 8-0 run.