JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – It’s been a banner year in girls’ high school soccer in our area. Five schools will be playing for state titles this week, more than in any year in the history of the sport in northeast Florida. Bolles, Bishop Kenny, Bartram Trail, Ponte Vedra and St. Johns Country Day are all one win away from bringing the trophy home from DeLand, where the state championship games will be held.
Prior to this year, the most teams in the finals from our area was three. But 2020 has proved to be historic.
1 p.m. 2A championship game
St. Johns Country Day vs. Shorecrest
Talk about a decade of domination. The last time the girls’ soccer team at St. Johns Country Day didn’t win the state title was 2011. Since then, the Spartans have brought home the trophy every year. This week, they’ll go for a 9th straight championship and their 12th state title overall. If they win, it would be the second most state titles in Florida girls soccer history. But this one might be one of the most impressive wins if it happens. Dating back to the 1920s, only 23 teams have won 12 state titles or more. That’s taking into consideration every single sport played in the state of Florida. The Spartans can be the next to join that elite group.
4 p.m. 3A championship game
Bolles vs. Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart
The Bulldogs have won the past two titles and eight overall. Bolles is led by Olivia Candelino who has scored 41 goals and amassed 39 assists in just 28 games, perhaps the most impressive season in area history. They face a Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart who have lost just twice this year and are ranked 5th in the state. They have averaged 3.5 goals per game but in the playoffs, they have scored more than three goals only once, in the district tournament opener. Bolles, on the other hand, has scored four or more goals in all but one playoff game. The lone outlier was a 3-0 win over Lakeland Christian in the state semifinals.
7 p.m. 4A championship game
Bishop Kenny vs Cardinal Gibbons
In contrast to St. Johns Country Day and Bolles, who have been there and won titles, it’s a first for Bishop Kenny. The school has never made the finals until now. They have been on a roll in the playoffs winning their four games by a total score of 27-3. But that doesn’t mean the win over Cardinal Gibbons is a formality. Gibbons is 18-3-4 this season and are riding a 12-game unbeaten streak into the finals.
1 p.m. 5A championship game
Ponte Vedra vs. Archbishop McCarthy
In the twelve years that Ponte Vedra High School has existed the Sharks have played for four state titles, going 2-2 in those four finals. The Sharks will be going for a third state title Friday. PV is ranked 22nd in the nation according to MaxPreps and hasn’t lost since Dec. 7.
7 p.m. 7A championship game
Cypress Bay vs. Bartram Trail
The Bears are ranked second in the country by MaxPreps. Bartram’s impressive record of 20-1-3 speaks for itself, but a deeper investigation makes it more impressive. The only loss by Bartram Trail this season came in a 3-2 loss on the road at national power Montverde, considered the best high school team in the country. The draws came against Lake Mary, Creekside, ranked No. 9 in the country, and Ponte Vedra. That is a quality season. That being said, Bartram Trail has won their last three playoff games by scores of 2-0, 2-1 and 2-1. Cypress Bay has an impressive 22-1 record, with their only loss coming in a 1-0 defeat to 4A finalists Cardinal Gibbons. Cypress Bay has also had some close calls in the playoffs. A 4-3 overtime win over Coral Reef preceded a 1-0 win over Vero Beach in the state semifinals.