What separates Northside Christian from its Class 2A, District 11 opponents? District titles and playoff exposure, for starters.
In the past two years, the Mustangs, loaded with superior talent, have rolled through district play. Last year, they advanced deep into the playoffs, getting to the third round.
Hitched up with an inviting stretch of overmatched opponents, the gap between Northside Christian and the rest is so expansive that the Mustangs not only swept every district match this season , they never lost a game.
So it was expected that Thursday's district final against Bradenton St. Stephen's would produce few anticlimactic moments. The defending champion Mustangs made sure the outcome was never in doubt, cruising to a 25-15, 25-12, 26-24 victory.
About the only cause for anxiety came in the third game when Northside (20-4) trailed 16-9. But the Mustangs kept their undefeated streak of matches - and games - intact with a big rally in the deciding game.
"I wasn't too happy we got behind like that," Northside coach Holly Filer said. "But we have an experienced group of girls and they responded when their back was against the wall."
Callie Hasko had 20 kills and Kayla Turner had 24 assists to lead the Mustangs.