Even before the Bishop Verot volleyball team put the finishing touches on its straight sets victory over Tampa Academy of the Holy Names on Tuesday night, the crowd in the John J. Nevins Gymnasium was already looking ahead to Friday’s rivalry match.
A “We want Berkeley” chant broke out late in the third set in the Verot student section as the Vikings topped Holy Names 3-0 (25-13, 25-21, 25-21) in a Region 5A-3 quarterfinal match behind 18 kills from senior Mindie Mabry.
The chant was in reference to Tampa Berkeley Prep, the team that ended the Vikings’ 2015 campaign in a five-set thriller in the Region 5A-3 final and topped Verot in its regular season tournament earlier this season.
The Vikings (24-4) and Buccaneers (20-7) will meet again at 7pm on Friday in Nevins Gym with a trip to the Region 5A-3 championship game on the line.
“We have eight seniors so we really understand what the goal is now,” Verot coach Jeremy Ridgeo said. “We won’t be making any major changes in the next two nights. We need to get ready for a great volleyball match.”
Verot raced out to a 13-4 lead in the first set and eventually extended that lead to 18-7 after an ace by senior Melissa Becker. Senior Kelsey Sullivan’s ace gave the Vikings a 23-11 advantage and they claimed the first set 25-13 after a Holy Names hitting error.
Sets two and three would prove be much closer as the Jaguars (17-7) found an offensive rhythm. Mabry, who is committed to play at Harvard, and Holy Names senior Camille Opp traded kills back and forth before Verot staked claim to a 17-11 advantage after scoring four consecutive points, three on kills by Mabry.
Holy Names clawed all the way back to tie the set at 19 after an ace by junior Gillian Garcia, but the Vikings won six of the next eight points to take a 2-0 lead. Bishop Verot clinched the second set thanks to a kill from sophomore Sophia Shahriari.
Holy Names jumped out to a 7-3 advantage in the third set after a Bishop Verot hitting error but the Vikings fought back to tie the score at 10. The teams split the next 22 points and were tied at 21 before the Vikings took control and won the set 25-21. Holy Names had two hitting errors and and junior Jessica Gedra had an ace before the Vikings clinched the match with a kill from senior Margaux Fry.
“This was senior leadership at its best,” Ridgeo said. “We had some let downs in the second set and the beginning of the third set. But they are just composed right now. The matches aren’t too big for them.”
Berkeley Prep swept Community School of Naples on Tuesday to earn the right to make the trip to Fort Myers on Friday night.
“Hosting this game makes an incredible difference,” Ridgeo said of Friday’s match. “With the game being on Friday, it really is a home court advantage.”
Senior Teya Leonard had 21 assists and eight kills for Verot while Fry finished the match with 12 kills.