After a grueling two-week span in which Berkeley Prep's volleyball squad played in two nationally-known tournaments, then traveled to archrival Tampa Prep, coach Randy Dagostino said the Bucs are well-prepared for the stretch run.
"The girls are geared toward this part of the season," he said.
What else is new?
Berkeley Prep owns 12 state titles, third most in Florida, trailing only Fort Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons (17) and Tampa Prep (14). The Bucs defeated Gainesville P.K. Yonge in last year's 2A final and were state runnersup the previous season.
The quest for back-to-back championships begins next week with the start of districts. Berkeley Prep, which finished third in its event, the Berkeley Premier, and second to Tampa Prep at the Tampa Bay Invitational, beat Tampa Prep in four games Tuesday. Many expect the teams to meet again in the playoffs.
"I think we've made some progress," Dagostino said. "But I know if we're going to beat (Tampa Prep) the next time, we're going to have to get better."
THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Ten county teams play tonight, but that's far fewer than first scheduled. Friday was supposed to be a teacher workday and several programs initially opted to play today. But because of the recent hurricanes, the county needs Friday as a makeup day. That gave schools a choice: Play tonight or switch to Friday.
Many teams that decided to go tonight did so because they have Homecoming games, which are difficult to reschedule because of all the other activities that go along with them, such as dances.
AHEAD OF THE PACK: Jesuit senior runner Andy Biladeau, last year's 2A champion, has the state's top time this fall, according to www.flrunners.com a site devoted to the sport. Biladeau's three-mile best of 15 minutes, 11 seconds, is 13 seconds better than his closest competitor. Jesuit's James Osborne 15:54 has the 10th-best time.
AT THE NET: Deli Marsonek, a 6-foot-2 middle blocker for Academy of the Holy Names, will make an official visit to West Virginia this weekend. She's coming off a strong match Monday in a victory against defending Class A champion Bayshore Christian.
AT THE NET, PART II: American University sophomore goaltender Alison Doyle, a Tampa Catholic graduate, was named Patriot League Defensive Player of the Week a third time this season, league officials announced Tuesday. Doyle ranks first in the league in saves and is tied for the top spot in shutouts.
"Alison certainly has been deserving of the recognition," American coach Michael Brady said.
TURTLE CRED: It's time to give credit where credit is due: Tampa Prep's mascot, a giant terrapin, just might be the area's best. During Tuesday night's volleyball match between Tampa Prep and Berkeley Prep, the terrapin displayed dance moves that would have made J-Lo envious. Okay, maybe that's a stretch, but this turtle could shake. And at the end of a particular hip-hop performance, the terrapin displayed one heck of a Mr. Roboto-like move with his left arm.