TAMPA — Coming off back-to-back sweeps of Tampa Catholic and Booker High School, Berkeley Prep was in a rhythm of cruising to quick wins — a rhythm coach John Coup said may have caused his team to play lackadaisically Wednesday night.
Despite beating Tampa Prep 26-24, 23-25, 25-20, 25-15 at the Straz Family Field House, the Buccaneers had to overcome 41 service and hitting errors to do so.
“(Tampa Prep) came out ready to play,” Coup said. “And we were ready to play, I just think we were a little too ready to play.”
Berkeley Prep’s Maddie Alberdi served out of bounds to open the match, recording the first of nine service errors the Buccaneers (4-1) had in the first game. Berkeley Prep led 20-14 as the first game wound down, but the Terrapins won 10 of the next 14 points to tie the score at 24. A kill from Stanford-bound Sidney Brown gave the Buccaneers the slight edge moments later.
In game two, which featured 13 tie scores, Tampa Prep’s Ariana Mosley recorded five kills. The Buccaneers weren’t able to rebound from their seven service errors and dropped their first game since Aug. 30.
As if a 1-1 tie was their wakeup call, the Buccaneers appeared to improve in the final two games, cutting down on miscues and sharing the ball. Coup was impressed that despite the errors, the girls used good teamwork to deliver the final punch. Three Buccaneers finished with at least 13 kills (Brown 18, Addison Harden 15, Maddie Raquet 13).
For Brown, the match against Tampa Prep (3-3) proved the team needs to continue working on fundamentals in order to cut down mistakes. But it also showed that in a time of need, a variety of players will step up to get the job done.
“Even if you are doing something wrong,” Brown said, “you can do other things really well and it’ll make up for it.”
Coup said his team thrives on playing talented opponents. After all, he added, it’s the only way to get better. For that reason, he has stacked the Buccaneers’ schedule with top-notch opponents.
And in just a few weeks Berkeley Prep will see its rival Terrapins again. Next time, the Buccaneers are counting on the match going a whole lot smoother.
“We just need to buckle down and play our game,” Coup said. “And if we buckle down and play our game, I like our chances against anyone.”