TAMPA — Playing in its third straight tournament in as many weekends, powerhouse Berkeley Prep finally came away with a championship.
The Buccaneers, runnerup in the Berkeley Premier and third-place finishers in last weekend's Asics Challenge at Chicago, captured the 26th annual Tampa Bay Invitational on Saturday at the University of Tampa's Bob Martinez Center. Berkeley Prep defeated DeLand 25-12, 25-18, 25-19 for the title.
"I would have liked to have had two firsts," said Berkeley Prep coach Randy Dagostino, alluding to a five-game loss to Louisville (Ky.) Mercy in the Berkeley Premier. "But I'm real pleased with how the girls are progressing. We hope everything is looking good for our next state tournament."
East Lake took third in the tournament with Clearwater finishing sixth and host Tampa Prep 13th. East Lake bested Fort Myers 25-22, 25-21, 26-24 in the consolation match.
In the match for fifth place, Clearwater lost 20-25, 25-27, 18-25 to Lake Highland Prep. Tampa Prep beat Bishop Kenny 25-22, 25-16, 25-16 for 13th place.
Defending Class 3A state champion Berkeley Prep had it much easier in the semifinals than DeLand. The Bucs easily got past Fort Myers 25-20, 25-23, 25-14. The Bulldogs were pushed to five games by East Lake, eventually winning 27-25, 25-21, 24-26, 22-25, 15-10.
In the championship match, Jordan Burgess led Berkeley Prep with 20 kills, 13 digs and 36 attempts.
"Our goal is always to get first place," said Burgess, a junior outside hitter. "That was a really good showing for us. Our goal is to win a state championship so we thought this was a good step."
Several other Bucs contributed to the championship effort. Mackenzie Dagostino had 36 assists, 15 attempts and five digs; Amber Mirabello recorded 15 kills and 27 attempts; and Natasha Rowland chipped in with 10 digs.
"I thought we played really well the whole tournament," Randy Dagostino said.