TAMPA – When it comes to playing volleyball Berkeley Prep outside hitter Jenna Hampton absolutely loves it. Although, she takes it very seriously.
The 5’7″ rising junior and Penn State commit has 435 kills in her first two seasons including 284 last season along with a hitting percentage of 43.8.
Berkeley Prep has made appearances in the region semifinals in 2014 and most recently the state semifinals last year with Hampton gaining valuable experience. The school moved up to Class 5A this year in volleyball.
“Getting that far in both seasons gives us experience and confidence going into this year,” Hampton told Prep Sports Scouting. “It helps show us what we need to work on.”
The Buccaneers battled in a five-set loss to eventual 4A state champion Ft. Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons last November. Hampton carried the load with a team-high 12 kills as senior Rollins commit Madison Jenkins sat out with an ankle injury.
“It was a big loss when Madison [Jenkins] broke her ankle. Her love for the game was missed on the court. The entire team stepped up to fill her spot. Isabella Samson, came in big and had a lot of kills…
“Unfortunately, we came up short in game five. That loss is helping motivate us a little more to get into the state finals this year.”
Berkeley Prep volleyball is being taken over by a familiar face as four-year head coach John Coup is out and longtime head coach Randy Dagostino is coming back. He led the girls to 829 wins and 15 state titles before leaving in 2012. His daughter Mackenzie Dagostino will join him as an assistant after three years playing at UF.
She says her close relationship with coach Coup helped her become a more rounded player. Hampton feels really good about her current group under the Dagostino family.
“The return of Coach Dagostino to Berkeley Volleyball is great,” she said. “The entire Dagostino family, as well as Eugene Tichenor are coaching. Their experience, passion and knowledge of the game will take us to the next level.”
Hampton pointed to two new faces as big additions to Berkeley. She called Francis Perez, a rising sophomore libero a “really good and aggressive back row player.” A new girl varsity this season is Francis
Fellow Penn State commit and rising junior middle blocker Amanda Phegley transferred over from Gainesville P.K. Younge. Hampton said it was a surprise to Hillsborough County that she came down and that Phegley will be an important presence at 6’4″.
Hampton said her hitting was good in her first two years, but admitted that she still has a long way to go.
“I’m young and need to improve my entire game in order to help my team,” she said. “I got a head start on hitting at the end of my club seasons this year. Because I am a little shorter for a front row player, I’m really focused on improving my blocking to help the back row. I also want to be more aggressive on my serves.”
On top of her high number of kills, she recorded 453 digs, 44 aces, 21 blocks and 11 assists from 2014-15.
Hampton says defense is her favorite part of playing volleyball and blocking is her least favorite.
Before volleyball, she had a passion for softball where she won the little league state championship in 6th grade. One of her first coaches Vicky Page recommended club volleyball to her and then two years later, she made that her main sport.
On Aug. 6, 2015, Hampton verbally committed to Penn State. The Nittany Lions have won seven NCAA titles, most recently in 2014 while making 13 straight tournament appearances.
“Penn State is my dream school,” she said. “Playing at Penn State for Coach [Russ] Rose and Coach [Salima] Rockwell will help me to achieve my goals to be the best player I can be.”
Hampton calls her older brother Jake her biggest role model. He is a freshman linebacker at Gardner-Webb.
“My role model is my older brother, he’s a hard worker who never gives up,” she said. “He is following his goals while playing Division 1-AA football at Gardner-Webb.”
She will build off of a successful sophomore season as she looks to do even more this year. Hampton says getting kills is her job and when she does that, it helps her team stay in their roles.
The Bucs open up the season on Tuesday night at Brooks DeBartolo. You can bet Jenna Hampton and her group will be ready. She has endless energy and is a very fun volleyball player to watch. Expect a huge junior year for Hampton and Berkeley Prep.
Playlist before games – Rap
Favorite movies – Unbroken and Benchwarmers
Favorite TV shows – One Tree Hills, Friday Night Lights and Grey’s Anatomy
Fun fact about you that you think nobody knows – “I hate ketchup. In fact, I’m kinda afraid of it.”
Nickname from teammates or friends – “Jhamp”
Photo credit: Tampa Bay Times
Jake Perper is the scout for Prep Sports Scouting. Make sure to follow along for all the updates on Twitter: @JakePerper.
If you have any questions or comments feel free to write below or email Jake at firstname.lastname@example.org.