TAMPA — After the first five minutes of Berkeley Prep’s home Class 4A region semifinal Tuesday, Academy of the Holy Names coach Jeff Davis had used his two timeouts and his team trailed 9-1.
Berkeley Prep continued to dominate all night, save when coach Randy Dagostino played his reserves in Game Three, as the Buccaneers defeated the Jaguars 25-9, 25-17, 18-25, 25-12.
“We’re using a phrase I thought we did okay on, and that’s, ‘Making the routine plays routine,’ ” Dagostino said. “We did that okay.”
Eight of AHN’s nine points in the first game were the result of Berkeley Prep errors — four service and hitting errors apiece. But the Buccaneers notched 12 kills to the Jaguars’ one and rolled to victory. Senior outside hitter Jordan Burgess, who will sign with Stanford Wednesday, led the way with 17 kills and 14 digs for the match.
AHN fought back and was down only 16-13 midway through in the second game before Berkeley Prep closed with a 9-4 run.
Sophomore outside hitter Logan Weldon paced the team with six kills in the game and finished the night with 12, second best on the team.
“That’s huge for us that we can move the ball around like that,” Dagostino said.
The Buccaneers’ reserves started the third game, and AHN took advantage for a 25-18 win. Berkeley Prep continued to tinker with its lineup in Game Four, and the Buccaneers were whistled for serving out of rotation on the third point of the game. Once the order was worked out (and after AHN was whistled for its own rotation violation), Berkeley Prep cruised again.
“Down the road we may have to match up certain players with certain attackers on other teams, so I started them in a different spot,” Dagostino said. “I just put the lineup in incorrectly.”
7A: Steinbrenner fights back then stumbles
LUTZ — Clearwater senior outside hitter Nikki O’Rourke was forced to watch the end of her team’s first match against Steinbrenner from the bench.
The 5-foot-7 Florida recruit injured her hip during the Tornadoes’ three-game pool play loss to the Warriors in the Gainesville Gator Classic on Sept. 9.
But Tuesday, O’Rourke had her chance at redemption against Steinbrenner with an opportunity to put her team in Saturday’s Class 7A region final.
And throughout five games that had their share of anxious moments and momentum shifts, the spring-footed O’Rourke played her biggest match of the season.
She paced Clearwater with 22 kills, including four in the decisive final game, as the Tornadoes ended Steinbrenner’s season with a 22-25, 25-21, 25-22, 24-26, 15-6 victory.
“Knowing that we almost beat them last time, I knew we could beat them this time,” O’Rourke said. “We’ve had some tough practices getting ready for them.”
Steinbrenner rallied, down two games to one, to win the fourth game despite losing an early 10-5 lead in a game that saw nine lead changes. With the game tied at 24, Warriors middle hitter Lauren Heldt had a quick-set kill and Madison Seuzeneau ended the game with a cross-court kill for a 26-24 win.
But that’s when the Warriors’ drive stalled.
Steinbrenner had seven attack errors, allowing Clearwater (22-8) to run out to a 13-3 lead in the fifth game.
“We just found the fire,” second-year Clearwater coach Kara Betourne said. “We knew the final was going to be at home, and we wanted to bring it back for the team and the fans as well.
“But we capitalized on their mistakes. We were just jumping higher, kind of focusing more and reading them well.”
The Tornadoes spread out their attack, with Sara Myslicki adding nine kills, Allie Russell seven and Samantha Reeves six.
“It’s frustrating to go out like that when we’re supposed to be peaking,” Steinbrenner coach Jennifer Graham said. “They know it and that’s why it hurts so bad. They know it.
“I don’t need to say anything. Clearwater stepped up. It’s a tough one for them. They were a beatable team.”
Senior outside hitter Miranda Powell had 12 kills and six aces for the Warriors (24-5).
5A: Cinderella run ends for Robinson
TAMPA — On a night when Robinson honored Kathy Bruckner-McCourdy, part of the school’s first girls volleyball team, the Knights took an unceremonious exit from the 2011 playoffs.
The Knights hung with the Spartans for the first half of Game 1 Tuesday, but were overwhelmed by great defensive play and the power hitting of Lakewood senior outside hitter Berkley Whaley.
“We knew they would be consistently hitting the ball deep, so we played line-in defense and we were very effective at it,” Spartans coach Sean O’Flannery said.
The Knights jumped out to a 4-0 lead to start Game 1 and were up 12-8 when O’Flannery called a timeout.
“I think we came out a little flat but I called the huddle and told them it’s their game to win,” he said.
The Spartans came out of the timeout and outscored the Knights 17-7 to close out the game 25-19. Whaley crushed the game winner.
Game 2 was more hotly contested early. It was tied at seven, eight, nine, even 10 all. Then the Spartans went on a 13-4 run before Robinson could slow things down. Whaley and Lakewood continued to put the pressure on Robinson, executing great jump serves to complement her kill shots.
Robinson had two chances to get momentum back, once at 19-11 and again at 23-14. Both resulted in Robinson serves into the net. The Knights collapsed in Game 2 25-18. Whaley scored the 25th point of Game 2 as well.
“It’s an awesome feeling finishing a game like that,” Whaley said.
The Spartans jumped all over Robinson to start Game 3 and the Knights were fractured and out of synch. They fell behind 8-2, then were down 10-5. Robinson finally dug out a Whaley spike only to have her waiting at the net for the return. Junior middle hitter Sarah
Donnelly got in a few kill shots. The Spartans finished off the Knights 25-20 to sweep the match.
It was a bitter end to the season but Robinson coach Ryan Wheatley recognized the team’s improbable accomplishments this year.
“People in Tampa know who Robinson volleyball is now,” Wheatley said.
“It will make people think when Robinson volleyball walks out onto the floor, now,” echoed Robinson senior hitter Katie Hogan, who has accepted a scholarship offer from Southern Methodist University.
But it’s Lakewood that moves on. Whaley’s 22 kills, more than seven per game, dominated.
3A: Terrapins get boost from junior Krueger
TAMPA — Tampa Prep stopped leaning on star junior Katie Krueger heading into Tuesday’s region semifinal against Bishop McLaughlin.
When the match started, the 6-foot-3 outside hitter took over.
Krueger blasted a match-high 23 kills to lead the Terrapins to a 25-8, 25-19, 25-19 sweep over the Hurricanes in the Class 3A, Region 4 semifinals.
The Terrapins (16-11) led the entire first game, as Bishop McLaughlin (16-9) never scored off its own service.
“The girls are pretty fired up to go,” Terrapins coach Jessica Lamm said.
Standout senior Jessica Johnson led a second-game Hurricanes comeback with one of her 10 kills followed by an ace and a Tampa Prep error that gave Bishop a 7-6 lead — its first of the match.
Then Krueger took over.
In the games leading up to Tuesday, Tampa Prep set the ball away from Krueger, a Virginia Tech recruit, to build the depth it will need to gun for a 16th state title.
“And of course that took away from her confidence a little bit because she wasn’t seeing as many balls,” Lamm said.
With the score tied at 12 in the second game, Krueger needed no encouragement. She slammed one of her six kills of the game and blocked the ball on the next two points to squash the Hurricanes’ rally.
Bishop and Tampa Prep battled back and forth in the third game, but Krueger ended the best season in Hurricane history with four kills in a six-point span.
“They had a few more guns than we do,” Bishop McLaughlin coach Doug Chinchar said.
Ariana Mosley recorded 13 kills for Tampa Prep. Lauren Shelmon and freshman Natalie Galdos had three aces each, while Nikki Cardoso added a team-best seven digs.
2A: Bayshore tops Cambridge in four
Bayshore Christian advanced to the region final for the eighth time in nine years, beating district rival Cambridge 30-28, 19-25, 25-23, 25-18.
The Faith Warriors (21-8) played Cambridge three previous times this season, with the Lancers winning two, including a four-game district final 12 days ago.
“We weren’t focused on who we were playing this time around,” Bayshore coach Melanie Humenansky said. “We were focused on Bayshore because sometimes you focus on your opponent so much that you don’t worry what you’re all about.”
Senior outside hitter Madison Schmitt led the Faith Warriors with 28 kills and freshman Marie Kelly added 25 kills. Setter Nadia Hall has 41 assists.
“Both teams had their chances,” Cambridge coach Dave Walcott said. “We’ve seen a lot of them, but it still comes down to who makes the most mistakes and least mistakes. We made some critical mistakes.”
Lancers senior Olivia Yeager led Cambridge (20-9) with 14 kills. Terrell Zentmeyer added nine kills.
Compiled by staff writers Matt Baker, Eduardo A. Encina, Laura Keeley and correspondent Andy Warrener.