Berkeley Prep wins, reaches final

Published October 30, 2005

Berkeley Prep wasted little time in turning back Melbourne Central Catholic 25-18, 25-20, 25-14 to win its Class 3A regional semifinal on Saturday at Melbourne.

"This had to be one of our strongest efforts this year," Berkeley Prep (20-9) coach Randy D'Agostino said. "We had outstanding ball-handling and excellent teamwork throughout the match."

Melbourne Central Catholic finished 24-4.

For Berkeley Prep, Kate Parker had 41 assists while Stanford recruit Janet Okogbaa contributed 25 kills, slightly above her per game average, and four blocks. Courtney Cohen added 11 kills and five blocks, and Christina Theofilios had 13 digs for the winners.

Berkeley Prep advanced to last year's region semifinal, where it lost to eventual state champion Tampa Prep.

Berkeley Prep hosts the region final at 7 Thursday night against an opponent to be determined. Hurricane Wilma forced the postponement of several quarterfinal matches, forcing those contests to be played today and the finals to be played Tuesday.

6A: Durant ousted

Durant ended its season Saturday by losing to Orlando Timber Creek 19-25, 24-26, 25-19, 26-24, 17-15 in the Class 6A regional semifinal at Orlando.

Jumping off to a two game lead, the Cougars (13-11) appeared to have the match in hand before Timber Creek (21-19) scored 11 unanswered points to win the third game.

"We just got caught in a weaker rotation at that point," Durant coach Jay Gordon said.

Timber Creek won the next two games for the opportunity to play in the region final.

"It was a real tough way to lose our last game," said standout Cougar outside hitter Sam Sarff, who had 24 kills to finish the year with 319.

Brittany Wilson had 11 kills and 16 blocks, and Alexa Donini contributed 33 assists for the Cougars.

"This is the third year in a row we have gotten to the regional semifinal only to lose," Gordon said. "We'll have to regroup and work even harder to get to the final and beyond next year."

5A: Plant's season ends

TAMPA - Admittedly, Plant was not as synchronized as it would have liked in its Class 5A, Region 3 semifinal against Venice.

The serves weren't crisp, the passes not as precise as hoped and the hits not as on-target as they have been this season. But it was a mistake late in the final game that hurt the most.

Officials called the Panthers for an out-of-rotation violation after they won a crucial point to bring up match point No. 4. The call took that point away and gave it to the Indians, who capitalized on their first serve to advance to the region final with a 21-25, 25-19, 25-20, 26-28, 19-17 win.

The match, which was a rematch of last year's state semifinal won by the Indians, seemed to be Plant's for the taking three times in the final game. Tied at 15, 16 and 17 with Venice serving, Plant's Kaley Read collected three kills to give the lead and the ball back to the Panthers. Her last one was negated by the out-of-rotation call, and Venice (23-7) served to score the last point.

"We were very sporadic as a team," Plant coach Leanna Taylor said. "And we couldn't pick up their dump the entire game. And their hitters hit the ball."

Plant was led by Kellie Catanach with 67 assists and Christine Williamson, who had 16 kills and 8 blocks. Read finished with 13 kills, and Allison Sharp had 12 for the Panthers, who end the season 26-2.

- MIKE READLING, Times correspondent