5A-9: Holy Names takes out CCC, faces Berkeley Prep in final
SARASOTA – The Class 5A, District 9 volleyball final will be an all-Hillsborough affair. Third-seeded Academy of the Holy Names outlasted second-seeded Clearwater Central Catholic 25-13, 25-23, 26-28, 27-25 to win Tuesday evening’s first semifinal. Top seed Berkeley Prep swept host and No. 5 seed Sarasota Cardinal Mooney 25-18, 25-21, 25-18.
AHN (16-5) will play Berkeley Prep (19-7) in the final on Thursday at 7 p.m. at Cardinal Mooney.
The opening match, as expected, was the most competitive. The Jaguars, who lost to the Marauders in straight sets when they played about a month ago, made a statement in Game 1. They jumped out to an 8-3 lead behind two kills and a block from Camille Opp. With the score 14-9, AHN scored five straight points and went on a 10-2 run before closing out the set with a kill from Megan Przedpelski.
Opp had five kills in the first set and finished the match with 27 kills. She did not play against CCC in the regular season because she was in New York City for a modeling assignment.
“It was a big win for us because we worked so hard on focusing on what CCC did,” Opp said. “I knew after that first set that it was going to go well for us.
“It crushed me that I had to miss that (regular-season) game. The whole time I was in New York that’s all I was thinking about. But I knew this time around that our team was going to execute so well.”
The execution continued in the second set, but it was much closer. The Jaguars held a 15-6 lead midway through. Then the Marauders showed signs of life. They rattled off five straight points, thanks in part to Jaguars’ errors and kills from Cameron Fitzpatrick.
Near the end of the second set, AHN held a 23-19 lead. CCC managed to tie it at 23 with a block and two AHN errors, but kills from Przedpelski and Opp ended the second set.
Closing out the third set proved too difficult for the Jaguars. AHN held a 22-17 lead and looked to be on its way to a straight-sest win. But the Marauders (22-4) scored six straight points, highlighted by two Fitzpatrick kills and an ace from Lily Curci that made the score 23-22 CCC.
The score was tied three different times until the Marauders closed it out with kills from Anna Vollmer and Rachel Schmitz.
It looked as if CCC was going to come back again in the fourth set. AHN held a 24-20 lead and was ready to finish off the match. But the Marauders scored five straight points and led 25-24. A net violation, a block and a Katherine Pickard kill ended the match for AHN. Pickard had 19 kills.
“We need to work on closing out those sets,” AHN coach Laura Praetorius said. “CCC did a good job of coming back, but we need to close it out a little sooner. They are giving me gray hairs.”
In the second match, the Bucs started slowly in both the first and second sets. Cardinal Mooney (14-11) led 9-4 in the first set before Berkeley Prep scored five straight points to tie. From there, neither team held more than a two point lead until the Bucs scored six of the final seven points to close out the match.
The second set was even closer. The teams were tied 14 different times, but like the first set, Berkeley Prep was better at the end of the set. The Bucs scored four straight points to break a 21-21 tie. Kellyn Trowse had a kill and an ace to end the second set.
The Bucs made it much easier on themselves in the third set by going on a 9-0 run to break out to a 17-9 lead. From there they were able to close out the sweep.
Jenna Hampton led the Bucs with 17 kills. Amanda Phegley had 11 kills. Reghan Judge had 13 digs and Trowse had 14 points scored off her serve.
“I thought (Cardinal Mooney) played great, actually,” Berkeley Prep coach Randy Dagostino said. “They were very prepared and even better than when we played them earlier, and I thought they were good then.”