SPRING HILL — Last season, Tampa Prep faced Bishop McLaughlin twice and swept the Hurricanes both times. In fact, only once in those six games did the losing squad reach 20 points.
Although the Terrapins swept Bishop McLaughlin once again Tuesday night, 25-23, 28-26, 25-12, Tampa Prep found out this Hurricanes team has come a long way since their previous meetings.
Bishop McLaughlin (11-5) had a pumped-up crowd in its corner as it took the Terrapins (9-5) to the limit in the first two games.
Behind the firepower of hitter Jess Johnson (11 kills), the Hurricanes kept Tampa Prep off balance at first, but first-year Terps coach Jessica Lamm attributed the closeness of the match to her team’s inexperience.
“We have a lot of young kids in certain positions,” Lamm said. “When points start to come easy, they tend to take points off. (Johnson) is starting to mature and that makes a big difference, too.”
An ace from Bishop McLaughlin’s Andrea Niggebrugge tied the second game at 21, but the Terrapins pushed back ahead. A Johnson kill tied it back up at 24 then it was the Hurricanes who went ahead. Finally, Tampa Prep took control when Ariana Mosley (eight) drilled a kill to tie the game at 26 before her squad finished it off.
Once Tampa Prep was able to fight off Bishop McLaughlin in the second game, it seemed to burst the momentum bubble for the home team. Katie Krueger (match-high 23 kills) went on two 5-0 service runs in the third game, including three aces.
“Every win helps of course,” Lamm said. “We like when (teams) give us hard games. That’s the reason we set the schedule up the way we did.”