TAMPA — Berkeley Prep entered its Class 3A, District 11 semifinal facing the most adversity it has all season.
The Buccaneers headed into Wednesday's game without two starters, after outside hitter Chelsea Parker broke her nose during Tuesday's practice and middle hitter Taylor Hayes was out with bronchitis.
Longtime Berkeley coach Randy Dagostino's starting lineup against St. Petersburg Catholic included five freshmen, but the Buccaneers showed their depth, beating the Barons easily in three games, 25-6, 25-19, 25-9.
"I think after (Tuesday's) practice, we knew no matter what happens we had to get it done," senior setter Christina Theofilos said. "What we need now is diverse players, and we have an entire bench of them."
The Bucs (23-2) clinched a region berth and will play Clearwater Central Catholic, a five-set comeback winner over Academy of the Holy Names (20-25, 23-25, 25-23, 26-24, 16-14), tonight at Berkeley.
Freshman Mackenzie Dagostino had eight kills and four aces and freshman Jordan Burgess had nine kills. Freshmen Brynne Fruhmorgen and Aymara Evans played well replacing Parker and Hayes.
The Marauders (18-6), who have no senior starter, came back from a two-game deficit, running out to an 8-2 lead in the final game and holding on for victory.
"I told the team that if we could just get one (game) then the pressure's on them," CCC second-year coach Brian Imperiale said. "Every time we got another point and another point you could see us start to feel it."