TAMPA - In two years, when prep volleyball stars Maddie Martin and Lindsay Young begin their promising college careers, they'll be able to look back and appreciate the time they spent as friends, rivals and teammates.
This week, the two rising juniors will attempt to lead the Tampa Bay Juniors 16-Under volleyball team at the USA Junior Olympic Girls' Volleyball Championships in Dallas. Last year, Martin and Young helped the club's 15-Under team win the gold medal.
The club's 15-Under and 17-Under also have qualified for this year's championships.
Martin, a 6-foot-1 outside hitter for Plant, and Young, a 6-foot middle/outside hitter for Berkeley Prep, have played together since they were 14. Both are two-year varsity players and have helped lead their high school programs to the state tournament each year, Martin having won two 5A state titles with Plant.
A Tribune All-County first-team selection this past season, Martin led Plant with 308 kills en route to the state title while Young, a two-time all-county first-team selection, led Berkeley with 294 kills along with 208 digs and 83 blocks.
At the end of the season, they were tabbed by PrepVolleyball.com as two of the top sophomores in the nation. This season, they undoubtedly will be two of the best players in the state.
"I think their potential is nothing but on the rise," said veteran Berkeley Prep coach and club director Randy Dagostino, who also coached former county standouts Sara Kirkwood and Janet Okogbaa.
As teammates, Martin and Young thrive on each other's energy.
"Lindsay is always loud and vocal, and she's competitive, which is the most important quality a volleyball player should have," Martin said.
"Martin is probably the most consistent player on our team," Young said. "It makes everything a lot easier. No complaints."
Their high school programs routinely play each other at either the highly competitive Berkeley Premier tournament or the Tampa Bay Invitational, hosted by Tampa Prep. Plant defeated Berkeley at the Invitational last season.
"When we play each other, we always stand across from each other at the net," Martin said.
"We give each other the glare, and then it's like, 'hey'" said Young, jokingly.
Martin and Young said it's a privilege to play alongside each other, as well as the other talents on the team. They root for each other during the high school season and Martin hopes Young will win her own state title before she graduates.
As far as recognizing their potential to be known as two of the all-time great products of Hillsborough County, "I think we'll have a lot more to say in two more years," Martin said.