JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Christ's Church Academy volleyball won their first state championship in any sport over Naples First Baptist Academy in four sets Thursday at the UNF Arena.
The Eagles become the sixth local team to win a state championship in volleyball joining Nease, Bolles, Bishop Kenny, Fletcher and Sandalwood.
"I'm so proud of them, words can't describe," said Eagles head coach Debbie Christian. "They have such a good work ethic and genuinely care about each other. You can see that when they are together on and off the court. I can't say enough about them."
The Eagles dropped the first games 25-19 before storming back to take the next three games.(25-15, 25-22 & 22-17). The Eagles only dropped three games during the playoffs this year. Christ's Church senior middle blocker Emma Russell says that nerves played a part in dropping the opening game.
"We were a little nervous at the start, we didn't play the way we could have right off the bat," said Russell.
"I knew the nerves wouldn't last long because they always step up to the challenge," said Christian. "When they lost the first game, we just encouraged them in the huddle to just play your game and have fun. That's exactly what they did."
According to Sophomore outside hitter Julia Mangum the third set was the most important as the Eagles were never more than three points ahead of the Lions at any time. Mangum scored three of the final five points in the set, closing it out with a kill, a block, and a kill to win 25-22.
"I am a hitter and I really hate it when I get blocked," said Mangum. "So when we started blocking them in the middle of that game I could tell that they were getting down and the momentum was with us."
It is the first state championship in any sport for Christ's Church Academy and according to the girls, it is going to take a while to sink in.
"I can't tell you how happy I am," said junior outside hitter Heather Brown. "I am just overjoyed that we were able to make our dream come true. We won states together! It is just awesome."