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District volleyball semis: King, Hillsborough keep rolling

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Thu. October 24, 2013 | Bryan Burns

TAMPA — King rolled through the 6A-9 regular season, dropping only one game en route to a 7-0 district record.

Hillsborough, too, was dominant with just one loss to King.

As expected, the Lions and the Terriers will meet in tonight’s district title match after continuing their mastery of 6A-9 foes in the semifinal round at Leto.

Top-seeded King served 19 aces to dispatch four seed Armwood 25-11, 25-17, 25-17. Lions setter Mercedyz Mitchell and outside hitter Alexandra Pividal led the way with six each.

For King (15-4), Wednesday’s match was a moment of redemption. Last season a young, promising Lions squad was bounced in the district semifinals. King, which doesn’t have a senior on its roster, used that disappointment to fuel this year’s tournament run.

“Last year we got so close,” Mitchell said. “We have a really good group of girls that are playing well together. It’s turned out to be a great season, the best season we’ve had in years.”

Pividal and Arielle Allen had nine kills apiece to pace the Lions’ attack.

Armwood finishes its season 5-11.

In the early semifinal, second-seeded Hillsborough pulled away from third-seeded Chamberlain midway through each game to win 25-15, 25-15, 25-20.

The Terriers (14-6) advance to the postseason for the first time since 2007.

“It’s been a long time, longer than anyone here can remember,” junior outside hitter Alex Lutton said. “We’re pretty excited.”

Hillsborough held a narrow 14-12 advantage in Game 1 before reeling off five straight points to take control. Chamberlain (12-12) led 14-11 in Game 2, but Hillsborough again went on a five-point run and wrestled the lead away. The Chiefs clawed back to within two points late in Game 3 at 22-20. Consecutive kills by Lutton, Kimberly Sutherland and Jennifer Eng ended any Chamberlain comeback hopes.

“Volleyball is such a game of momentum,” Lutton said. “We were trying to minimize our serve errors and our errors in general. Once we got a good block, a good kill, a good dig, anything, the momentum kept us going.”

Lutton was Hillsborough’s leading attacker with 16 kills, and Casey Gonsalves also reached double digits after recording 10 kills.

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