Tampa Prep coach Carol Dagostino thought her team would win, and Berkeley Prep coach Randy Dagostino thought Tampa Prep would win.
But Berkeley proved the thinking wrong by overcoming an erratic performance to win 15-8, 10-15, 15-11 Thursday night. The Bucs, defending Class 2A state champions, have won seven of their last eight meetings against Tampa Prep, the defending Class A state champion. The Terrapins last beat Berkeley in 1990.
Tampa Prep appeared to have its best chance to win in some time.
"I felt this was our match today," Carol Dagostino said. "I think they felt this was our match today."
"To be honest, I thought Tampa Prep would win," Randy Dagostino said.
The Bucs struggled with service reception throughout the match. Eileen Murfee had 15 kills, but her coach said Murfee could have played a bigger role.
"The service reception has to be good to get someone like Eileen into the game," Dagostino said. The Terrapins capitalized on Berkeley's mistakes by winning the second game and taking a 10-8 lead in the third.
Berkeley rallied to tie the match at 10-10 when Cameron Ross blocked a shot. A kill returned the service to Berkeley with the Bucs leading 12-11. Fiona Bolton served out the match, with Allison Hobson getting the match-ending kill from the left-front position.
The Bucs easily won the first game. Murfee had four kills, while Bolton and Hobson keyed the pivotal rally.
With Bolton serving, Berkeley turned an 8-6 lead into a six-point advantage with two unforced errors and a kill and a dink by Hobson.
The Terrapins stormed to a 9-2 lead in the second game and won 15-10. Kelly Stewart had five kills and Leanna Prida and Holly Smiekel snuffed Berkeley rallies with key plays. The Bucs pulled within four before Prida ended the rally with a spike.