Wednesday, November 22, 2017
Sports

Volleyball: Tampa Prep's newfound spirit no fluke

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TAMPA — Two weeks ago, Tampa Prep might have all but thrown in the towel if it found itself trailing late in a game. Andrew Wilson's Terrapins have always had the talent, he assures, but they haven't always had the confidence to come from behind to close the deal.

In a match Tuesday against undefeated Carrollwood Day — which the Terrapins won 25-12, 17-15, 25-22 — Wilson saw his team's changed attitude in the very way it hit the ball.

After winning the first two games with relative ease, the Terrapins (7-9, 2-0) fell behind early in the third as the visiting Patriots (10-1, 3-1) scored nine of the first 11 points. But with several big swings — including three aces from middle hitter Kamryn Beach — Tampa Prep rallied to tie the score at 19 on its way to a narrow victory in the final game.

"I've always said, you swing to win games, you don't tip to win," Wilson said. "If you're tipping or rolling because you're afraid to make a mistake, you're not going to win."

Outside hitter Corey Perkins, who led her team in two big wins last week with a total of 32 kills, had five kills in the comeback game. She and outside hitter Alana Nelson led the Terrapins with 10 kills apiece.

Putting the match to bed in the third game and extending Tampa Prep's winning streak to three matches was the motivation behind Perkins' third-game outburst. But the junior couldn't deny the adrenaline from Thursday's win against Berkeley Prep was still running through her veins.

"We're still definitely very hyped about that," Perkins said. "The energy is still in us."

Wilson felt his team made some mistakes defensively Tuesday. As the Patriots hit the same spots on the floor over and over again during the third game, they seemed to be hitting their stride offensively.

The Terrapins' big hits, however, made up for where they lacked on defense. Beach finished with nine aces while Perkins had a .476 hitting percentage. Failing to stop those offensive weapons, Carrollwood Day coach Eric Praetorius said, resulted in his team's first loss.

"Every team we play we outdefense," he said. "Tonight we did not."

Tampa Prep's second sweep in six days also marked the ninth straight game in which the Terrapins have finished on top, a streak that extends to its 3-2 come-from-behind win against Academy of the Holy Names.

Since that five-game fight, Wilson acknowledges there's something a little different about his team. "They believe they can win," he said.

Believing is a good start. Following through, he added, is even better.

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