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Cobras cruise, Bulldogs top Bears

Hudson, the No. 3-ranked team in the state, and No. 9 Zephyrhills will meet in tonight's Class 4A, District 8 championship after each posted easy wins Wednesday night.

Both were also assured of regional playoff berths next Tuesday. The winner tonight will be crowned district champion and host a match, while the loser will play on the road. The teams split a pair of regular season matches this season and will meet for the district crown for the third straight year.

While top-seeded Hudson's 15-7, 15-5 win over Pasco was not a surprise, the easiness of the Bulldogs' triumph over Central was. The Bears had beaten Zephyrhills twice during the regular in close matches, but never got things going Wednesday.

Zephyrhills (18-6) wouldn't let them. A balanced attack kept the pressure on all match, and Central collapsed in the second game as the Bulldogs rolled 15-11, 15-6.

"We had a little more focus than they did," said Zephyrhills coach Pat Moul. "Our players wanted it bad. They wanted to beat them."

They did, behind Elaina McAdams' serving, Loraine Clausnitzer's and Kristen Schleicher's net play, and a solid defensive effort. Oh, and Central helped out too.

Trailing 9-6 in Game 2, the Bears struggled with receiving and serving, helping the Bulldogs close with a 6-0 run to end the match.

"It was a snowball effect from the minute the game started," said Central coach Jim Jensen. "Serving has been our Achilles' heel all season. I'm going to read a manual on how to serve (in the offseason) and teach it.

"Zephyrhills did what it had to do to win tonight, and we didn't."

The Cobras (25-3) had little trouble with the upstart Pirates, who were coming off an upset Tuesday night of Hernando. After scoring the first point, Pasco watched as Hudson's Jill Perez served 11 straight points _ including two aces _ to give the Cobras control.

Pasco (6-19) forged a 4-4 tie in Game 2, but Shannon Wisler served four straight points, with help from Kacy Dorr's two dinks. Wisler (six kills in the second game) was equally effective from her hitting position, producing kills off three of Hudson's final seven points as Melissa Strawser served out the match.

The Cobras will bid for a fourth straight district title in tonight's match, scheduled for 7.

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