Defending state champion Ponte Vedra is back on familiar ground – in another state championship game.
The Sharks eliminated Ocala Vanguard last week to earn a spot in the Class 5A finals against Jensen Beach on Saturday, Nov. 14, at the Suncoast Credit Union Arena in Fort Myers.
The first serve is set for 1 p.m.
Considered a national powerhouse, Ponte Vedra now has won all 26 matches this year and 35 overall — including 34 sweeps — dating back to last season. The Sharks also won the state championship in 2017.
This year’s group may be the best yet, according to head coach Robin Mignerey.
“We have a talented team,” she said. “It’s not easy when everyone’s hunting for you. Now we’re down to one game.”
The Sharks are led by senior outside hitter Amy Burkhardt. She leads the team in kills (210).
But Ponte Vedra has other key players, including junior outside hitter Rachel Johnson (181 kills), sophomore middle blocker Zeta Washington (146 kills), sophomore setter Jessica Shattles (176 points from serves and 705 assists), freshman middle blocker Chelsea Sutton (45 blocks), junior forward libero Ava Witt (261 digs), junior outside hitter Kendall Mignerey (204 digs) and sophomore middle blocker Zeta Washington.
“We have a lot of weapons,” Mignerey said. “There’s not a lot of pressure on one person. We’re not one-dimensional.”
The playoff brackets were determined in a blind draw. Despite being the defending state champion – and being ranked 13th nationally – the Sharks were forced to compete in a play-in game.
“It’s been a long four weeks,” Mignerey said. “When we started, we knew we had to win eight games. We’re 7-0 so far.”
Jensen Beach could be No. 8.
The Falcons are 20-1 and on a 17-game winning streak. Jensen Beach earned its spot in the finale by eliminating Tampa Robinson, 25-23, 25-21, 25-17.
“We’ve had a good environment this week in the gym,” Mignerey said. “I think that will help. Some of our players have been here before. We have others who will be trying to win their first [championship]. The keys is to not overthink everything.”