The Ponte Vedra Sharks did something in the 6A State Championship that they rarely do, they lost, falling in three straight sets to Hialeah Gardens Mater Academy, 25-22, 26-24, 25-20.
However, by no means does the loss define how they will ultimately be remembered as a team.
Instead, what will be remembered is the fact that they won the last two 5A state titles and had the rare opportunity at a third straight title.
“They’ve given up homecoming dances or getting ready to get their nails done ahead of time for volleyball,” head coach Robin Mignerey said. “I’m fortunate as a coach, because they eat, live and breathe volleyball. That is what hard work looks like, and they reap the rewards from it.”
The group finished the season 29-2 and did not miss a beat despite moving up a class prior to the year.
“It speaks to the strength of this team and the strength of the program,” senior Rachel Johnson said.
The group has defined what it means to be part of the Sharks’ volleyball program and will enter next season riding a 51-match winning streak at home, with their last loss in the Shark Tank coming on Oct. 11, 2016.
The Sharks’ last five-set loss was on Oct. 30, 2018, which demonstrates once again the dominant run they have been on for some time.
Losing in the championship was only the eighth defeat the Sharks have endured over the past three seasons.
“We started playing volleyball together at an early age, so we’re friends on and off the court, which really helps,” Johnson said. “I spend so much time with them that it really builds those bonds. It’s just a loving family atmosphere.”
Johnson continued her excellent play of late with a team-high 13 kills to go with 11 digs, while fellow senior Kendall Mignery had 12 digs and had seven kills on the night.
Zeta Washington continued to have success with her service game with five aces to go with nine kills and a block.
Jessica Shattles led the way with 26 assists and Ava Witt topped the team with 17 digs from her libero position.
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