TAMPA — Berkeley Prep's regular-season schedule is designed to prepare the Buccaneers for the playoffs, which loom in a week with district tournament openers.
But before then, Class 3A Berkeley tested itself against Class 5A power Venice on Monday night. It was the Bucs' third game in four days — all of them in the bone-chilling, hand-numbing variety thanks to the bitter cold.
On Monday, the Bucs met a speedy Venice team that kept them moving and survived with a 3-2 win.
"They're probably the fastest team we've played so far," Berkeley Prep coach Ken Roberts said. "It's good to get a win like this going into the (district) tournament. It gave us a few things to take a look at."
Berkeley (13-4-2) has lost just once in its past 14 games, a 1-0 setback to Plant in the Sarasota Holiday Tournament.
"It was a big win for us," said senior Taylor Batye, who scored the winner eight minutes into the second half on a header in front of the net. "To beat a team like that, it shows how much we're improving."
Batye and fellow senior Sam Newhaller, who scored Berkeley's second goal, dictated the pace of the game throughout.
After Venice (14-4-2) took a quick 1-0 lead on Tina Trujic's breakaway goal, Berkeley midfielder Amber Famiglietti evened the score on a penalty kick. Newhaller scored in the 29th minute, putting in a Taylor Richardson shot that hit off the post and in front of the net.
Venice forward Dana LaRocque then tied the game in the 47th minute, but less than two minutes later Berkeley scored the winner.
"I'm usually not the person who scores on headers so when it happened I was ecstatic," Batye said. "Amber played the perfect ball and it was easy to head in."
Berkeley goalkeeper Bryane Heaberlin made several critical saves, including one midway through the second half when she leaped and got her hand up for a deflection; the ball hit off the crossbar and behind the net.