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Hot starts put spice back into big rivalry

With Tampa Prep and Berkeley Prep a combined 14-2 this season, Friday night's match has the makings of a classic battle.

By SCOTT PURKS

© St. Petersburg Times, published September 14, 2000


TAMPA -- It has been a bit one-sided the past two years, but there is no doubt that Tampa's greatest volleyball rivalry -- if not Tampa's greatest prep sports rivalry -- is back as strong as ever.

Berkeley Prep vs. Tampa Prep.

The match begins at 6 p.m. Friday night at Berkeley, and barring a possible clash in Berkeley's Premier tournament, it will be the only meeting between the volleyball powers this season.

"That may make it just a little more intense," Tampa Prep coach Paul McAdoo said.

"Now won't it?"

The series dates back to 1977 and every season since then the teams have faced each other at least twice a year. Berkeley, by virtue of its five-match winning streak, now holds a 43-36 overall edge in matches.

Tampa Prep, however, appears poised for victory.

Led by outside hitter Amber Langston and setter Justeen Patton -- players Berkeley coach Randy Dagostino called two of the best in the state -- the Terrapins have jumped out to a 7-2 record, the losses coming in a high-caliber tournament last weekend in Birmingham, Ala.

"I am very encouraged with the way we're playing," McAdoo said, "and I know the girls are probably a little extra excited to play against their best rival.

"I'm looking for a great match. The stands should be packed and the intensity will be way up."

Berkeley (7-0) awaits with a squad without any seniors but loaded with talent.

Both coaches said that Tampa Prep probably will come in with a bit more offensive firepower, but Berkeley will likely counter with a superior block.

"But no matter how it goes," Dagostino said, "we'll have to play our best match to win."

McAdoo added, "This is our best chance we've had in a while. They've beaten us physically the past few times, but this time it could be different."

KESWICK INVITATIONAL

WHEN: Today-Saturday.

WHERE: Keswick Christian, 10101 54th Ave. N.

ADMISSION: $3 for adults, $2 for students.

TEAMS: Academy of the Holy Names, Clearwater, Clearwater Central Catholic, Countryside, East Lake, Keswick Christian, Largo, Maitland Orangewood Christian, Northside Christian, Orlando Lake Highland Prep, Palm Harbor University, Pinellas Park, St. Petersburg Catholic, Shorecrest, Tarpon Springs, Winter Park Trinity Prep.

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