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)

State volleyball semis: Berkeley foe has hot hand as Bucs fall

Berkeley Prep’s Sidney Brown returns a shot against Lake Highland Prep. The Bucs standout and Stanford commit finished with 21 kills.


Berkeley Prep’s Sidney Brown returns a shot against Lake Highland Prep. The Bucs standout and Stanford commit finished with 21 kills.

KISSIMMEE — In each of the first two sets in Tuesday's 4A state semifinal, Berkeley Prep forced set point against a Lake Highland Prep team it had seen — and beaten — once before this season.

Both times, the Buccaneers — who lost 24-26, 24-26, 25-23, 22-25 — didn't make the play they needed, and it ultimately resulted in the end of their pursuit of the program's 16th state title.

"That's the disappointing part. We could have easily won that match in three," coach John Coup said. "It was a dogfight every time we played these guys. And it just came down to who made the play."

Berkeley Prep beat the Highlanders 3-1 when the teams played Aug. 30 in the Bucs' second regular-season game. But that time, Vanessa Freire didn't have an afternoon quite like she did Tuesday at Silver Spurs Arena.

Freire was hot all match, particularly in the later sets. Coup said the Highlanders were able to keep the middle blocker involved by passing well and maintaining solid ball control. She finished with 24 kills and a .647 hitting percentage.

"I saw that stat line, and I was like 'Wow,' " Coup said. "That's a stat line you don't see very often."

In comparison, Berkeley's go-to attacker was limited at big moments by the Lake Highland defense. Outside hitter Sidney Brown, a Stanford commit, finished with 21 kills. It's the hits she was stopped from making, however, that cost the Bucs.

In the second set, the Highlanders (23-8) blocked a hard-hit Brown ball to tie the score at 24. On the very next play, they did it again. Brown ended with a .200 hitting percentage.

After winning the third set to stay alive, the Bucs went down early, and fast, in the fourth. Berkeley Prep (22-8) trailed by as much as 21-8 in the final stretch, but the Bucs, not ready to see their season end, scored 12 of the next 14 points.

"It was spectacular," Coup said about his team's late comeback. "We just started that cycle a little late."

For some of the Bucs, it was their third or even fourth appearance in the final four. Brown admitted she never felt less nervous going into a big match.

But sometimes, even the best preparations don't yield the desired result.

"It just happened that they got the points that mattered this time and we got them last time," Brown said, "which is frustrating as players because you think it could have easily gone our way."

State volleyball semis: Berkeley foe has hot hand as Bucs fall 11/13/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 13, 2013 12:47am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Ryan Callahan encouraged by his return


    Captain Steven Stamkos wasn't the only key Lightning player to make a triumphant return Friday night against Nashville.

  2. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Friday's Rays-Orioles game

    The Heater

    RHP Alex Cobb hates to hear how he "battled through" or "grinded out" a start rather than just dominated, but that's kind of what he did Friday, allowing nine hits and a walk and being charged with two wild pitches but only three runs in earning his 12th win.

  3. Lightning's Steven Stamkos looks close to top form in first game since November

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — The wait felt like forever for Lightning captain Steven Stamkos, having gone 10 months without playing in a game.

    A scramble in front of the Lightning goal has Matthew Peca, far left, and Erik Cernak, middle, helping out goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy during the third period of a 3-1 win against the Predators. Vasilevskiy, who made 29 saves, was “exceptional,” coach Jon Cooper says.
  4. Rays journal: Alex Cobb may have pitched last game in Rays uniform (w/video)

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — RHP Alex Cobb pitched well enough to lead the Rays to an 8-3 win over the Orioles on Friday.

    Wilson Ramos gives thanks after hitting a grand slam during the second inning, putting the Rays up 4-0.
  5. Ww's Odessabeach makes run at Husker Magic stakes final


    ST. PETERSBURG — When Hurricane Irma blew through Florida earlier this month, Ww's Odessabeach remained in her comfort zone.