Tampa Prep, fresh off a Tuesday night win in five games against Academy of the Holy Names, had won its first two games against Berkeley Prep on Thursday. In the must-win third, the Buccaneers jumped to an early 5-1 lead.
Earlier in the season, a Terrapin team that struggled to close tight matches might have let this one slip through its hands. But channeling coach Andrew Wilson’s advice from a few days ago, Tampa Prep (6-10) battled back to stun the Buccaneers 25-21, 25-18, 25-22.
The Terrapins’ win against Berkeley Prep (9-3), a perennial powerhouse, was their first in nine years.
“It’s good to renew that rivalry a little bit, get a win on our side,” Wilson said. “It’s a huge game no matter how many years one side has won it. It’s one they circle on the calendar before the season starts.”
The teams met for the first time this season Sept. 11, when the Bucs beat Tampa Prep 3-1 in close games. That night, Berkeley Prep had 41 service and hitting errors. Wilson said the Bucs had some of the same problems in Thursday’s rematch.
Wilson said he was proud of his team’s resiliency against the talented Bucs, including Sidney Brown. Before Thursday, Brown she was averaging a county-high 5.6 kills per game.
“Sidney would go up and crush a ball and I told them, ‘Just win the next point. It doesn’t matter,’ ” Wilson said. “And that’s all they did, all night.”
For the second consecutive match, junior outside hitter Corey Perkins led the Terrapins in kills with 16. Claire Blumenthal added a team-high 20 digs.
Thursday’s win marked the first time the Terrapins have won back-to-back matches this season. But with a host of talented teams left on their schedule — including an upcoming match against undefeated Carrollwood Day — the victory did a whole lot more than simply add a W to their win column.
“It validates what they’ve thought,” Wilson said. “It gives them that belief. It’s not, ‘I think I can.’ It’s, ‘I’ve been there, and I’ve done it.’ ”