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Plant volleyball: We want Berkeley Prep

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Fri. November 20, 2009 | Eduardo A. Encina

LAKELAND -- Following its Class 6A state semifinal win over Miami Ferguson, the Plant volleyball team expressed its disappointment it didn't play rival Berkeley Prep this season for an opportunity to determing Hillsborough County's top program.

The top two volleyball teams in the county, Plant and Berkeley, usually meet in tournament play, but scheduling conflicts didn't allow them to meet in this year's Berkeley Invitational or at the Tampa Twice high school showcase at the USF Sun Dome.  

"We like to play good teams," Plant coach Leanna Taylor said.

Asked if they were the best team in the county, Taylor said. "No, we're the best team in the state."

Talk quickly turned to planning a after-the-season match -- only half-jokingly -- between the two county powers.

“I would play them now," Plant hitter Maddie Martin said. "If they were here. I would play them.”

Berkeley (29-3), ranked 17th in the nation by PrepVolleyball.com, won the Class 3A state title on Thursday. Plant (28-1) plays for its fourth consecutive state title in Saturday's 6A final against Winter Park. The Panthers won their past three title in Class 5A.

Take away Berkeley's four-set loss to Class 5A state champ Martin County and both teams went undefeated against Florida teams, with all of their losses coming in prestigious out-of-state tournaments.

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