Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Berkeley freshmen have added responsibility

TAMPA — This wasn't supposed to be the season when Berkeley Prep added its 13th state championship, since the Buccaneers would rely heavily on the play of two freshmen.

But those freshmen — outside hitter Jordan Burgess and setter/opposite hitter Mackenzie Dagostino — are now big reasons Berkeley Prep is just two wins from another state title. The Buccaneers (27-2) face Miami Florida Christian (28-2) in Friday's Class 3A state semifinal at the Lakeland Center.

"There's no way we are here without them," Berkeley coach Randy Dagostino said.

And now, as they trek to Lakeland, there's no mention that they are freshmen.

"We came in here and knew we were going to be able to start and we took that as an opportunity," Burgess said. "We didn't look at ourselves as young players just because with the position we're in we can't look at ourselves as freshmen."

Always around the game

Since she was able to walk, Dagostino remembers being around the volleyball court, never far from her father, the longtime Berkeley coach.

"I remember peppering with my brother at states," Mackenzie Dagostino said. "I've been around it my whole life, so I guess everyone knew I would be a volleyball player."

Maybe because of that, Mackenzie is an incredibly well-rounded player. She grew up having a powerful left hand, but also the touch to be a setter (her 4.8 assists per game are second on the team). She's also the team's vocal spark plug.

"On the court she's an amazing cheerleader," Burgess said. "She's always there for you."

Said her father: "Mackenzie just turns it on during competition. I guess that's just the comfort level she has being around the sport for so long as an observer."

A bright future

Berkeley's top outside hitter has played the game only two years.

But heading into the state semis, Burgess leads the Buccaneers with 3.7 kills a game, including a pair of 27-kill matches in two of Berkeley's biggest matchups, Lake Highland Prep and Orlando Timber Creek.

"She just a very inwardly intense individual," Randy Dagostino said. "She has incredibly lofty goals and certainly from what we've seen this year, she's probably going to reach a lot of them."

Her coach said Burgess is just beginning to tap into her potential, but he has seen enough to say she is the best natural passer he has ever had at Berkeley.

"When she came in she was very raw," said Mackenzie, who played with Burgess with the Tampa Bay Juniors 15 Black club team over the summer, "but she developed really fast."

Berkeley freshmen have added responsibility 11/19/08 [Last modified: Thursday, November 4, 2010 10:02am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Abominable Bucs Missing Their Chance


    Of course, they can still win the division.

    They can still make the playoffs.

    Another Sunday, another celebration for the other guys
  2. Justin Timberlake in Super Bowl halftime show for first time since 'wardrobe malfunction'


    Justin Timberlake has finally been invited back to the Super Bowl halftime show, 14 years after the "wardrobe malfunction" with Janet Jackson caused a national controversy.

    Singer Janet Jackson covers her breast as Justin Timberlake holds part of her costume after her outfit came undone during the halftime show of Super Bowl XXXVIII in Houston in 2004. The NFL announced Sunday, Oct. 22, 2017, that Timberlake will headline the Super Bowl halftime show Feb. 4 in Minnesota, 14 years after the "wardrobe malfunction" with Janet Jackson cause a national controversy. [Associated Press]
  3. No more looking at Jim Harbaugh, but should we look at Notre Dame?


    STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Overheard Sunday morning in a hotel elevator, among two Penn State fans: "Did you see Coach Harbaugh's interview? He looked shellshocked. One of those coaches with his job on the line."

    Jim Harbaugh and Michigan are falling out of the national conversation; Sunday they fell out of the AP rankings after a blowout loss to Penn State. [Detroit Free Press/TNS]
  4. NFL Week 7: What we learned


    Are the Purple People Eaters back in Minnesota? The Vikings sacked Joe Flacco five times and held the Ravens to 208 total yards in a 24-16 home victory, their third straight win. QB Case Keenum looked ordinary with a 67.7 passer rating after completing 20-of-31 for 188 yards and an interception. Kai Forbath …

    Trainers, top, check Cleveland Browns tackle Joe Thomas after Thomas was hurt in the second half of an NFL football game against the Tennessee Titans, Sunday, Oct. 22, 2017, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane) OHTD122
  5. Bills' comeback against Bucs a win for the process


    ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — It hasn't taken Sean McDermott long to understand how to play to his base. Asked if the Bills had "gotten away with one" Sunday, the first-year coach gushed about his team reflecting the character of the town.

    Under first-year coach Sean McDermott, the Bills are 3-0 at home for the first time in six years. “I love playing here,” he says.