TAMPA — Mercy Academy certainly knows how to make itself at home. Just ask Berkeley Prep.
The top-ranked volleyball team in Kentucky and ranked fifth in the nation, Mercy Academy from Louisville powered its way to the Berkeley Premier tournament title for the fourth straight year on Saturday.
And Mercy did it by defeating two of the best programs in the Tampa Bay area. Mercy toppled Plant, the two-time defending Class 5A state champ, in the semifinals, then swept host Berkeley Prep in the title match.
"What can you say about them?" Berkeley Prep coach Randy Dagostino said. "They are so well coached, and they just accelerate the speed of the game so much. We learn from them every time we play."
Mercy's front line was dominant against the Buccaneers, killing off points with strong shots during the 25-16, 25-14, 25-19 title match. The Jaguars (26-1) added aces on jump serves.
In the second game, Berkeley Prep (15-2) trailed 10-8 before Mercy went on a 6-1 run. Setter Christina Theofilos had 12 digs for Berkeley Prep, which also got a 16-assist performance from Mackenzie Dagostino and a combined 22 kills from Jordan Burgess, Chelsea Parker and Lindsay Young.
In the semifinals, Berkeley Prep overcame pesky Orlando Lake Highland Prep 25-22, 16-25, 25-21, 25-19 win.
The Panthers (8-2), meanwhile, never got on track in a 25-19, 25-20, 25-12 loss to Mercy. Danielle Erb led the Panthers with 10 kills while Ali McCurdy added 15 digs and Becca Howard had 25 assists.