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Cobras own their tourney yet again

Host Hudson defeated Ridgewood 25-11, 25-14, 27-25, to win the seventh annual Hudson Invitational Tournament. It was the Cobras' sixth victory in their tournament, and fourth in a row. The Cobras swept through the tournament, winning every game in every match.

"We did some good things," Hudson coach Linda McQuade said. "Three teams dropped because of the weather, putting us down to nine, so we didn't really know what to expect."

In the final, the Cobras easily won the first game, never trailing. In the second, the Rams pulled within 10-9 before Hudson reeled off eight straight points behind the serving of senior co-captain Jen Strawser.

"We didn't want to lose our own tournament," Strawser said. "Ridgewood always has a strong team. So we made sure not to underestimate them."

Ridgewood jumped to an early lead in the third game. Hudson came back and tied it at 25, took the lead, then won on senior co-captain Devon Fodi's ace.

"I thought, "If I miss this, I'm going to be running,' " Fodi said. "They fought back (in the third game), but we fought harder."

Senior co-captain Alyson Ray, who had 17 kills, led the Cobras offensively. Sophomore Sara Hampshire, who had five digs, led them defensively.

Ridgewood coach Amber Starkey was quick to commend her team. "I thought we played well against them," she said. "My girls had a good tournament."

In the third-place match, Land O'Lakes defeated Sickles 25-19, 19-25, 25-19, 25-22.

"I wasn't expecting this at all," Gators coach Staci Elias said. "We've been up and down this year. We had only two returning starters, along with five freshmen playing. I was really happy with the play of ninth-grader Kayli Keough, who has started all season and continues to improve. Hannah Newhall also played well."

As for the Cobras, it was just another day on the court.

"I wasn't expecting to win again," McQuade said. "I let the girls make their own expectations. They are very tradition-oriented. You can say that we wanted to defend our title, but really we just wanted to play good volleyball. I think we did that."