JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The News4Jax Super 6 volleyball poll will be published each Wednesday through the end of the regular season. Records are through Tuesday's matches.
Rank, School, Record, Class
1. Ponte Vedra (1-0), Class 5A
The Sharks went 24-5 a season ago and were upset in the second round of the state playoffs after winning a championship in 2017. Ponte Vedra couldn’t be set up much better following its Class of 2019 graduations. OH Logan Mignerey (165 kills, 67 aces), libero Sophia Ervanian (326 digs) and setter Morgan Batchelder (735 assists) all return.
2. Fleming Island (0-0), Class 6A
A strong case can be made for the Golden Eagles at No. 1. They had an exceptional season in 2018, going 25-4 and reaching the regional finals. The bulk of that lineup is back, with middle Rayna Durden (team-best 230 kills, 86 blocks) and outside/middle Jasmine Robinson (162 kills) leading the offense. Libero/defensive specialist Jagelyz Ramirez (417 digs) and Kailey DiPaula (545 assists) is also back.
3. Episcopal (1-0), Class 3A
A state semifinalist last season after going 17-12, the Eagles are positioned well for another deep trip to the playoffs. Outsides Emily Mayher (176 kills) and Sophie Perrella (127 kills), middle/outside Viki Wood (174 kills, 47 blocks) and right side Tori Zlatanoff (126 kills, 30 blocks) supply the returning offense. Libero Liv Leinenweber (716 digs) and setter Hannah McCarthy (754 assists) also return in what could be the most experienced lineup in the area.
4. Bishop Kenny (0-1), Class 4A
The Crusaders, 19-12 last year, have been as good of a pick to go deep into the playoffs as any program in the region. Kenny’s state semifinal trip last season was its seventh straight and 18th overall. Outside/middle Emilie Chinault (165 kills) and OH Gjysela Nika (122 kills) are the top returnees at the net. Setter Cameron Fenner (577 assists, 172 digs) is back to run the offense. As usual, it’s a rugged schedule right out of the gate for Kenny, with games against Bartram Trail (Aug. 27) and Santa Fe (Aug. 29) before the month ends.
5. Middleburg (1-0), Class 5A
I went back and forth on Middleburg or Bartram Trail here, but give the edge to the Broncos, courtesy of their 3-2 win over the Bears on Tuesday night. The Broncos have a brutal opening slate of games, seven consecutive matches against playoff teams from last year, including the likes of Spruce Creek, Tallahassee Leon, Episcopal and Ponte Vedra. Hitters Jenna Sypniewski, Kayleigh Smith and Britany Range combined for 34 kills in their season opener, highlighting an offensive diversity in what has become a hallmark of Carrie Prewitt-coached teams
6. Christ’s Church (0-0), Class 2A
State champions two seasons ago, the Eagles reached the state semifinal round last year and probably have just as good of a shot to return down there. Middle Julia Mangum is the big name here. She had 363 kills and 133 blocks last season. Setter/DS Lydia Mortensen had 817 assists last year for state runner-up Harvest.
On the bubble: Bartram Trail (0-1, Class 7A), Bolles (0-0, Class 4A), Creekside (0-1, Class 6A), Fletcher (1-0, Class 6A), Harvest Community (1-0, Class 2A), Nease (0-1, Class 7A), Oakleaf (1-0, Class 7A), Providence (0-0, Class 3A).