After having four coaches in four years and losing in the districts each of those years, the Academy of the Holy Names has come together to shove some other teams out of the volleyball picture.
The latest victim was Tampa Catholic, which fell 15-6, 15-10 in a Class 3A, South Region II quarterfinal Tuesday.
"We've always been the underdogs," Academy's senior defensive specialist Sarah Tarrant said. "So it's nice to win a few and have confidence. Tonight we felt that if we played well we would win."
Academy (20-11) ended up playing so well that it trailed only once, 1-0, in the opening game. Tampa Catholic (15-15) tied it at seven in the second game, but quickly lost the next four points.
"We're just glad to get out of here in two games," Academy coach Gregg Latter said. "Tonight was our kind of game _ not a lot of unforced errors and a lot of digging for balls and keeping it in play."
Academy moves onto a regional semifinal Friday against the winner of the late Tuesday LaBelle-Lake Placid match.
Tampa Catholic, meantime, was disappointed but proud to have been in its first regional.
"I would say they were nervous," Tampa Catholic coach Cindy Deters said of her team. "We have never played in front of a crowd this big in a game this big We just never got it going, but we still played hard."
Class 3A, South I
If Berkeley Prep's Jessica Riester was the question, then the Mulberry Panthers certainly were unable to provide the answer.
The 6-0 outside hitter tallied eight straight kills in the first game to spark the Buccaneers to a 15-1, 15-6 victory at home Tuesday.
Berkeley (20-10) spotted the Panthers (16-7) a 1-0 lead in the opening game but, propelled by Riester's dominant net play, scored 18 straight points to run the table in the first game and start the second. Riester, who did not play in the second game, had all of her team-high eight kills during the run.
With a 4-2 lead in the second game, Berkeley had nine straight points on the serve of Anna Robinson. The setter had three of her five aces in that stretch. Robinson also controlled the tempo with a match-high nine assists.
"We were ready to play," Berkeley Prep coach Randy Dagostino said. "We're going to have to have two good days of practice because we know Friday will be very tough for us. Wherever we end up going, there willl be four quality teams there."
Mulberry coach Don Ratterree said that his team hoped to gain a valuable measure of experience from facing a team as talented and tradition-laden as Berkeley Prep.
Andrea Albritton and Jessica Linkswiler had a pair of kills apiece to lead the Panthers.
_ TODD TUBERGEN