TAMPA, FL – In a back and forth battle in Saturday’s Class 4A State Semifinal, Ft. Lauderdale-Cardinal Gibbons defeated Tampa-Berkeley Prep in five sets (28-26, 19-25, 25-20, 25-12, 15-13). However, the Bucs didn’t go down easy as they trailed 14-8 in the fifth set and rallied to record five straight points before ultimately suffering a tough defeat.
Molinari and Martin do work
Senior middle blocker Daniella Molinari stood out for Cardinal Gibbons, leading the Chiefs with a game-high 19 kills, along with seven digs, six blocks and two assists. She was aggressive all afternoon and continued to give Berkeley Prep’s defense fits each and every set.
Also, fellow senior, setter Sarah Martin was on point for Gibbons as she recorded the game-winning kill in the fifth set as she had 17 for the day. It was hard to pinpoint who was better Molinari or Martin, both girls are over 6’1″ and have the ability to take over matches much like they did on Saturday.
Hampton stands out
For Berkeley Prep, sophomore outside hitter and Penn State commit Jenna Hampton fired up her team with a team-high 12 kills. She has a bright future ahead and looks to be a true talent despite playing just her second season of prep volleyball.
Without senior Madison Jenkins, who missed last week’s regional final due to an ankle injury, it made things that much tougher for the Bucs. Jenkins is a Rollins commit who was very energetic on the sideline despite being in a walking boot. She’s headed to big things at the Division-II level.
State title pursuit
In search of their 20th state title, Cardinal Gibbons (24-7) will take on Mount Dora Trinity Catholic (26-5) in the Class 4A State Championship next Saturday at the University of Central Florida.
—Expect Molinari and Martin to be the focus of the Chiefs gameplan and rightfully so. The pair is as good as they come.
—As for Berkeley Prep, they should continue to be contenders year in and year out under head coach John Coup especially with Hampton continuing to shine.
Jake Perper is the founder of Prep Sports Scouting. Make sure to follow along for all the updates on Twitter: @JakePerper.
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