WESLEY CHAPEL — Zephyrhills began bullying Hudson last year after years of being bullied.
The Bulldogs defeated Hudson for the first time in recent memory, then went on to knock the Bulldogs from the playoffs on Hudson's home court.
Determined to do it again, Zephyrhills played its best match of the season Wednesday. It wasn't enough as Hudson won a Class 4A, District 8 semifinal 21-25, 25-22, 25-18, 25-15.
The Cobras will play Nature Coast, which beat Springstead 25-22, 26-24, 25-17, tonight at Wiregrass Ranch for the tournament title.
The Sharks are the defending district champions and have defeated Hudson both times this season.
In fact, Nature Coast has dropped just three games in the district. Two of those were to Hudson the last time the teams played in a 3-2 Nature Coast victory.
The Cobras had their hands full in the first semifinal after falling behind after one game.
They led the start of Game 2, but Zephyrhills hung around and briefly took the lead before there was a 10-minute break in play to correct a Hudson serving error. The momentum shifted in favor of Hudson, which went on to win the final three games.
The Cobras were led by juniors Shannon Zasloff (11 kills), Cara Carley (14 kills), Katy McGee (11 kills) and freshman Lacey Carley (five aces).
In the second match, Nature Coast was surprisingly pressed by rival Springstead.
The Eagles reached the semis with an upset of Wiregrass on Tuesday, and proved worthy of challenging the Sharks. They lost the first two games by a combined five points.
The Sharks were led by Kayla Bailey (10 kills, four blocks), Alex Livengood (10 kills, two aces) and Courtney Liddle (10 kills).
Izzy Gould can be reached at [email protected]