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Bishop Kenny, Ponte Vedra cruise into volleyball state championship games

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On to the state volleyball championship go Bishop Kenny and Ponte Vedra.

The Crusaders punched their seventh trip to the state title game with a 3-0 rout of host Tampa’s Academy of the Holy Names on Saturday in the Class 4A state semifinals. Ponte Vedra rolled on in its quest to defend its state championship with a sweep of Ocala Vanguard in the Class 5A state semis.

The Crusaders, who won 25-20, 25-23, 25-22, will play for the state crown on Friday at noon at Suncoast Credit Union Arena in Fort Myers against Cardinal Gibbons (7-3). Ponte Vedra (26-0) will play Jensen Beach (21-1) on Nov. 14 at 1 p.m. The Sharks crushed Vanguard 25-10, 25-12, 25-20 to move on.

Kenny and Ponte Vedra have two state titles apiece, tied for the most in area history in what has been one of the most challenging of the major team sports titles to win.

Sandalwood (1979, Class 4A), Fletcher (1981, Class 4A), Bolles (1989, Class 2A), Nease (2008, Class 4A) and Christ’s Church (2017, Class 3A) are the only other area programs to bring home volleyball state crowns.

The Sharks have won 35 consecutive matches dating back to last season, with all but one of those coming by sweep. This is the fourth trip to the state championship game for Ponte Vedra and coach Robin Mignerey. The Sharks won their first state title in 2017.

The Crusaders (20-8), a Super 6 team all season, has won state titles in 1999 and 2014, the latter squad finishing 31-1 and nationally ranked by MaxPreps. That title was the first for coach Suzanne Winkler. Saturday’s state semi appearance was the 19th in program history for Kenny. That total ranks second in area history to Bolles' 23.


About the Author:

Justin Barney joined News4Jax in February 2019, but he’s been covering sports on the First Coast for more than 20 years.