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For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
TAMPA - This is unfamiliar territory for Berkeley Prep, being an underdog and all, but coach Randy Dagostino kind of likes it.
"I like the challenge," said Dagostino, who has led the Bucs to 12 state titles in his 20-plus years at the school. "Hopefully we can sneak up on some people. Surprise some people."
The first team to surprise is Jacksonville Bolles, which defeated Berkeley in a close match this season, at the Lakeland Center in Friday's Class 3A semifinal.
"Bolles is solid and has one of the best players in the state in Courtney Johnston, who can do just about anything she wants on the court," Dagostino said. "We're going to find ways to defend her. We're going to need a great effort from all our players."
The players include court leaders, senior setter Kate Parker and sophomore libero Christine Theofilos, who help set up freshmen outside hitters Lindsay Young and Alex Dickerson, who have improved dramatically over the season, Dagostino said.
If Berkeley (20-9) gets past Bolles, the opponent likely will be Lake Highland Prep, which at 25-3 is one of the state's best teams in any classification.
"They are strong in every area," Dagostino said. "But right now, the concern is Bolles. We can't look past them, no way.
"It's not like it used to be (when Berkeley rolled just about every year to a state title). It's way more competitive and we like that. It's more interesting this way."