On Sept. 10, Nature Coast blanked Hudson 3-0 (25-15, 25-14, 25-19). On Sept. 25, the battle between the two Class 4A-District 8 rivals was closer but the Sharks prevailed 3-2 (22-25, 25-14, 16-25, 25-22, 15-11).
So when No. 1-seeded Nature Coast met No. 2-seed Hudson on Thursday for the district championship, Nature Coast was looked at like the favorite - to everybody but Hudson.
The Cobras (20-7) got nine kills each from Cara Carley and Hallie Bislick to defeat the Sharks, 25-18, 25-23, 25-22. Hudson will host the District 7 runner-up Groveland South Lake on Tuesday. Nature Coast (24-3) will travel to District 7 champion Orlando Bishop Moore. Bishop Moore defeated South Lake 25-12, 25-16, 25-12.
"We saw some holes in that second match," said Hudson coach Linda McQuade. "We worked on them and it paid off."
In all three games, Nature Coast jumped out to early leads but the Cobras came back. In Game 1, the Sharks scored the first three points of the match but Lisa Kerns fired eight consecutive winning serves to put Hudson up 9-4. The Cobras dominated the match after that, outscoring the Sharks 11-4 after the match was tied 14-14.
Game 2 was tied eight times and Nature Coast held an 18-13 lead before Hudson got key serves from Kerns again to close it out. Neither team took much of a lead in Game 3. The Sharks led by five points once (9-4) and Hudson didn't get its first lead until 12-11. The match was tied eight times, the last at 22-22. Lacey Carley began serving with Nature Coast leading 22-21 and the Cobras two kills each from Katy McGee and Cara Carley to close out the match.