The Bucs top Tampa Prep in four games, capping a busy stretch for both teams.
By KEITH NIEBUHR
Published October 13, 2004
TAMPA - Most of the athletes who play for traditional powers Berkeley Prep and Tampa Prep compete year-round. Many have played for state championships. At this level, they've just about seen it all. But when the squads square off, there's something special in the air.
"It's never just a regular match," Berkeley Prep senior Anne Miller said.
Winning has an extra-special feel in this fierce rivalry, which is why Miller and her teammates likely will have an extra bounce in their step today.
Behind a strong offense and a steady defense, the Bucs defeated host Tampa Prep 25-14, 22-25, 25-18, 25-23 before an enthusiastic crowd Tuesday night that gave the match a state championship feel.
Berkeley Prep (14-4) improved to 2-1 against Tampa Prep this season. The Terrapins (15-4) defeated Berkeley in Saturday's final of the Tampa Bay Invitational.
"We are definitely feeling good and feeling confident," Miller said. "We have the skills, but really everybody is coming together as a team right now."
The match capped a busy two-week stretch for both squads. During that span, each played not only in the Tampa Bay Invitational but the Berkeley Premier, two events considered among the best of their kind in the southeast. Tampa Prep won both tournaments, beating several of the state's best teams along the way.
But Tuesday was Berkeley's night.
The Bucs controlled the tempo from the start, got more offensive players involved and made fewer mistakes. They also were quick to capitalize on Tampa Prep miscues. The Terrapins were without junior standout Rachael Phillips, who has an injured finger, but coach Mike Flynn refused to use her absence as an excuse.
"That's not why we lost," he said.
Why then? "I don't think our ball control on the service receive was as tight as it could have been," Flynn said.
Berkeley's greatest asset was balance. Janet Okogbaa led with 14 kills, but Miller and Courtney Cohen had 11 each. Setter Kate Parker added 35 assists.