TAMPA – Berkeley Prep coach Randy Dagostino and Palm Harbor University coach Tara Kuk left the Buccaneers gym on Tuesday with opposite viewpoints on their teams’ performance.
Dagostino labeled the Buccaneers’ 25-11, 25-16, 25-14 sweep against Pinellas County power Palm Harbor University one of his team’s finest performances of the young season,
Kuk, on the other hand, felt her Hurricanes played their worst match of the season against the No. 1 team in the country, according to MaxPreps.com.
Whatever the perspective, Berkeley Prep took Palm Harbor University out of its comfort zone from the outset and maintained a healthy lead throughout to defeat the Hurricanes.
“I think Palm Harbor’s a pretty good team,” Dagostino said. “But I think this is by far the best match we’ve served all year and it really sort of got them out of rhythm. … We really kept them off balance with strong serving.”
Buoyed by their well-placed serves, the Buccaneers (7-0) won the first five points, then reeled off six more to take an 11-1 lead against the befuddled Hurricanes, who were never able to recover from the early deficit.
PHU (3-1) held its first lead at 5-4 in game two and again at 6-5. Trailing 13-11, however, the Hurricanes couldn’t find the court with their serve, allowing the Buccaneers to win eight of the next 10 points and take control.
“In the second game we were finally hanging with them, doing good things, and we missed four serves in a row,” Kuk said. “… When we had opportunities, and we only had a few against that good of a team, we definitely couldn’t capitalize on them.”
Berkeley Prep opened up a 7-1 lead in the final game, and the Buccaneers finished off the Hurricanes with Jordan Burgess’ 11th kill of the evening.
“Because of our ball control, our setting was almost perfect tonight and our attackers were able to get clicking,” Dagostino said.
Amber Mirabello led the Buccaneers with 12 kills. Mackenzie Dagostino had nine kills and 27 assists. Burgess had a team-high 14 digs, and Natasha Rowland added 12 digs.
Leah McNary was the Hurricanes’ main offensive weapon with 11 kills. She also had four blocks. Caitlyn Kovach had 16 assists, and Sammy Eichelberger had 10 digs.