Climbing to the top

Sharks volleyball makes statement with Nike tournament victory

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It looks like the Ponte Vedra High volleyball team has reloaded and will be on the hunt for a second-straight state title this season.

If there was any doubt about how this year’s team would respond to last year’s success, the Sharks emphatically answered that by winning the 2021 Nike Tournament of Champions Platinum Division Sept. 3-4 in Orlando.

Running through the weekend undefeated improves the Sharks overall record to 9-0 on the season and sends a statement to the rest of the state that they will be a force to be reckoned with once again.

The squad also jumped to the No. 1 spot in the most recent MaxPreps national rankings following the triumphant tournament.

It is quite the jump for the Sharks after entering the event ranked No. 116 in the nation by MaxPreps.

Improving 116 spots was the largest movement among the top 200 teams in the ranking, and no other team in the top 10 moved more than five spots up or down in the order.

Some of the best high school volleyball programs in the country competed in the two-day tournament over Labor Day weekend.

The Sharks handled every challenge that stood in front of them along the path to going 7-0 during the two days en route to defeating St. Pius X out of Georgia in two tight sets, 25-23, 25-23, to win the title.

On the first day of competition, the Sharks defeated Jackson Academy (Mississippi), 25-17, 25-16; Fort Myers Bishop Verot, 25-17, 25-10; and Tallahassee Florida High, 25-11, 25-19.

The Sharks carried the momentum they had built up into day two by going the distance against Lutz Steinbrenner, Tampa Plant and Alachua Santa Fe, but coming out on top in each outing to set up the title bout with St. Pius X.

Junior Zeta Washington helped lead the Sharks on offense and defense with 63 kills and 18 blocks registered during the tournament.

Seniors Rachel Johnson and Kendall Mignerey finished with 45 and 32 kills, respectively.

Sophomore Chelsea Sutton was active around the net and tallied 13 blocks as a result.

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