Three-peat on the line

Ponte Vedra faces Mater Academy for state title

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Legacy, special, resilient. Those are just some of the words to describe the Ponte Vedra Sharks volleyball team as they attempt to win their third straight state title against Hialeah Gardens Mater Academy in the 6A state championship Nov. 17.

“As a senior, it would be absolutely insane,” Ponte Vedra senior Reed Mann said. “I joined the team sophomore year and we’ve just kept winning all through varsity.”

The championship is scheduled for 7 p.m. and will be played at Suncoast Credit Union Arena in Fort Myers.

“I’m very hopeful and very excited,” Ponte Vedra senior Rachel Johnson said.

The matchup will pit a pair of defending state champions, as the Sharks (29-1) have been the 5A champions the past two years before moving up to 6A in reclassification. Mater Academy (25-7) is the defending 6A champion.

“At this point it’s all about who can deal with the little intangibles and adjust,” Ponte Vedra head coach Robin Mignerey said.

The Sharks looked the part against visiting Viera High School (17-10), as they swept the Hawks, 25-16, 25-17, 25-16, to secure their spot in the championship.

Several players had productive days for the Sharks, including Johnson, who led the team with 12 kills, while Zeta Washington had 10 kills and six aces. Kendall Mignerey added seven kills of her own.

Earlier in the week, Johnson signed to play volleyball at the College of the Holy Cross and Mignerey signed to play beach volleyball at Florida Atlantic University.

Chelsea Sutton showed up big for the Sharks and finished with eight kills and six blocked shots.

“I feel like it’s great to see all the different people that step up,” Mignerey said. “Today it was Chelsea (Sutton) and middle heavy strong and the in the other match (regional final against Tallahassee Leon) it was the outsides with Kendall (Mignerey) and Rachel (Johnson). It’s exciting to see.”

Mignerey continues to like what she has seen of late from the play of Sutton and her increased role as a consistent force at the net.

Whether it is blocking shots or hammering kills, Sutton presence around the net will be a major factor in the title game.

“That’s what we need, to have all those pieces in place,” Mignerey said.

Having been through deep playoff runs in recent years and knowing what it takes to win a state title will be experience the Sharks will look to draw upon.

However, even though the team is veteran-laden and has only lost once all season, there are still position battles going on even on the brink of another state title.

For Mignerey, she wouldn’t have it any other way and loves the competition the current group brings out of each other.

“It’s good because in practices the girls are always competing and pushing to make each other better,” Mignerey said. “That’s what I preach.”   

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