The Berkeley Prep Buccaneers and Tampa Prep Terrapins routinely advanced to the championship round of the Class A, District 9 volleyball tournament with victories Thursday night. The top-seeded Bucs (29-5) defeated Temple Heights 15-3, 11-15, 15-0 in the semifinals at Berkeley Prep, and second-seeded Tampa Prep (27-9) routed Bayshore Christian 15-3, 15-7.
Tonight's 7:30 final is a new chapter in a classic rivalry. The Bucs and the Terps have met in the district championship for six straight years.
"I feel really good about it," Tampa Prep coach Carol Dagostino said. "My team is very up for it. They are playing the best that they have played yet in the season.
"We're playing at our peak. We've got all the things going for us."
The two teams met three times during the regular season, with the two-time defending Class A state champion Bucs winning the last two matches.
The Terps wasted little time disposing of Bayshore Christian. Trailing 2-0 to start the first game, Tampa Prep rattled off eight points with the help of an ace by Jenni Henderson and a kill by Holly Smiekel.
The Faith Warriors scored one more point before the Terps finished out the game at 15-3 on a kill by Megan Flynn.
Smiekel lead Tampa Prep's offensive attack in the second game as she registered four kills and three aces.
Leading 4-0, the Terps widened the margin on a pair of aces by Darci Oak and a dink from Hilary Dawson to make it 8-0. Bayshore Christian retaliated with a Julie Griffith dink to get on the board.
Leading 10-2, Smiekel served two aces in a row before the Faith Warriors rallied for four straight points with the help of two aces from Tim Loggins.
At 13-7, the Terps finished out the match when Oak served an ace, followed by a kill by Smiekel.