5A-9: Berkeley Prep recovers to top Holy Names
SARASOTA – Berkeley Prep started slowly but got better with each set in a 19-25, 25-22, 25-21, 25-11 Class 5A, District 9 final win over Academy of the Holy Names.
“We just start slowly most of the time," Berkeley Prep coach Randy Dagostino said. “We put in a few wrinkles and by Game 4 those wrinkles were working. It just took some time."
The third-seeded Jaguars (17-6) looked like they might pull off an upset over the top-seeded Bucs (18-7) after looking impressive in the first set. They jumped out to a 7-4 lead, thanks mainly to Berkeley Prep errors. The set went back and forth and the Bucs cut the lead to 18-16 late. But two straight kills by Camille Opp widened the gap and the set was finished off by a kill from Katherine Pickard and a block by Megan Przedpelski.
The Jaguars had the lead for most of the second set as well. They held a 19-17 lead after a nice block by Kendall Bulleit. But Berkeley Prep tied the set after a Grace Varsames ace and took a 21-19 lead on a Varsames kill. The Bucs did not give up the lead after that and finished off the set on a kill by Amanda Phegley and an errant spike by the Jaguars.
AHN took an 8-3 lead in the third set, but Berkeley Prep slowly chipped away and to go ahead 16-15 on a Sofia Florin kill. The Jaguars hung in and tied it 19 on another Bulleit block, but the Bucs scored four straight points after that and eventually won on a Phegley kill and an ace by Varsames.
In the fourth set, AHN appeared to be out of gas. The Bucs took a 12-3 lead and AHN could not come back.
“They showed up and played really well," said Berkeley Prep’s Jenna Hampton, who had 15 kills to lead the team. “As we started going through the sets we started to outplay them, but they put up a good fight."
Phegley was also big at the net. She had 12 kills, as did Kellyn Trowse.
Opp had 16 kills to lead the Jaguars, including five to help AHN win the first set.
Despite the loss, Jaguars’ coach Laura Praetorius was encouraged by her team’s play.
“Winning the first set was a good tone setter,’’ she said. “And then we stayed with them in the next two sets. I’m extremely proud of my girls. We’re hopeful that we get to play them again, which would be in the regional semifinals. We were the underdogs twice in the this tournament and to be able to pull off a second upset was going to be difficult.’’
The Jaguars defeated second-seed Clearwater Central Catholic in the district semifinals.