The Berkeley Prep volleyball team would already be one of the nation's top teams heading into next season, but the back-to-back Class 3A state champion Buccaneers just became considerably better with their most recent addition.
Holy Names outside hitter Sidney Brown, arguably the top freshman in the Tampa Bay area, has transferred to Berkeley Prep, her father Scott confirmed Tuesday.
Brown’s arrival places three national-caliber players in the same lineup, along with rising seniors Jordan Burgess and Mackenzie Dagostino, and cements the Buccaneers as one of the nation's top teams entering the fall.
A Times' All-Hillsborough County second-team selection, Brown averaged 3.9 kills a game and has a kill percentage of 46.9 percent for a young Jaguars team that finished 17-8 last season.
Earlier this month, she was named to the USA Volleyball High Performance Indoor National Girls Select A1 Team, which is the top high performance squad for players ages 14 and 15.
The 5-foot-11 Brown, the only ninth-grader to make the Times' all-Hillsborough County first or second teams, was also named a finalist for the PrepVolleyball.com national freshman of the year award.
She will join Burgess, an outside hitter who is the reigning Florida Miss Volleyball and was named the PrepVolleyball.com and ESPNRise Junior of the Year last season, and Dagostino, a setter committed to Maryland who was named an alternate to the US Women’s Junior National Team earlier this month.
All three will be competing in a USA Volleyball elite training tournament this summer in Arizona.
This fall, the Buccaneers will try to win their 15th state volleyball title, which would tie the current county record held by Tampa Prep.
Berkeley Prep will likely begin the season nationally ranked. The Bucs will travel to Chicago for the prestigious Asics Challenge and host their own elite national tournament, the Berkeley Premier.
-- EDUARDO A. ENCINA (firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @EddieHometeam)