All-News4JAX volleyball: Perspective key for Ponte Vedra’s Washington

The All-News4JAX fall sports teams will be released Dec. 27 through Jan. 5. (News4JAX)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Zeta Washington knew the Ponte Vedra volleyball team was good.

She didn’t realize just how good until she saw it from the bench.

Washington, now the two-time All-News4JAX volleyball player of the year, has had a starring role on the Sharks for much of her three high school seasons.

But the most eye-opening part of that for her was when the 6-2 junior middle blocker and Cincinnati commit watched Ponte Vedra from the bench as an injured spectator.

“I kind of got a different perspective,” she said. “You know, looking at it from the sidelines for so many games, like how strong our team is and how much of the bond we have that you know, even if one person leaves or multiple people aren’t able to play that we can still finish through and win.”

Washington spent the bulk of her sophomore year in 2020 on the bench trying to recover from a brutal ankle injury that cost her nearly a full season. When she saw things from that vantage point, Washington realized just how thorough of a program that she was a part of.

“We have so much depth and we have for so many years and even the upcoming year for my senior year we’re so versatile,” Washington said. “And you know, I think that [time injured] really helped me realize that.”

Washington missed six matches in 2020 and was limited in others while trying to work her way back from the ankle injury. The Sharks went 27-0 and swept 26 of those opponents. Fully healthy this season, Washington was back to her dynamic self. She had 313 kills, matching the total from her freshman season.

Washington was the All-News4JAX player of the year in 2019 and posted almost identical hitting numbers this season. But she was stronger on the block, on defense and in the service game.

The change this time — the Sharks didn’t end their season with a state championship. Mater Academy stunned Ponte Vedra with a sweep in the Class 6A title game.

“I’d say now we kind of have this feeling of what a really tough loss feels like. You know, the past two, three years, we’ve kind of had it easy, you know,” she said. “So you know that loss I think it kind of really put people in their place, that yeah, we are PV but we also can lose. So, I feel like going into next season is kind of like a redemption year not just for me and the seniors but for everybody on the team who experienced that loss.”

All-News4JAX volleyball team

First team

Position, Player, School, Class

OH Allison Cavanaugh, Bishop Kenny, Jr.

Three-time All-News4JAX first-team selection. Finished with 366 kills (47% percentage) and 35 blocks, both team highs.

S Annie Dill, Bartram Trail, Sr.

Three-year star for the Bears had 795 assists this season. Added 179 digs and 28 blocks. Program’s career assist leader (2,133) and a Newberry College signee.

OH Alexandra Hennessey, Fletcher, Sr.

Had team-best 332 kills on a 44% kill percentage. Added 31 aces, 25 blocks and 288 digs for 20-9 Gateway Conference champion Senators. Tulane signee.

OH Ellie Jackson, Mandarin, Sr.

Exceptional athlete. Team-best 281 kills on a 39% kill percentage. Second on Mustangs with 349 digs. Third on the team with 47 aces and 26 blocks. Emmanuel College signee.

OH/DS Amaria King, Trinity Christian, Fr.

Punishing kill machine had 458 kills on a 41% kill percentage. Had 327 digs and 31 blocks for a very strong Conquerors squad that went 20-10.

L Sydney Lewis, Bartram Trail, Jr.

Two-time All-News4JAX first-team selection. Had 465 digs (19.8 digs per match), 40 aces and 150 service points. Surpassed 1,000 career digs this season, tops in program history.

S Jessica Shattles, Ponte Vedra, Jr.

Two-time All-News4JAX first-team selection Drove the powerful Sharks offense all season. Had career-best 896 assists and surpassed the 2,000-career mark this year. Added 199 digs. New Hampshire commit.

MB Zeta Washington, Ponte Vedra, Jr.

All-News4JAX player of the year for the second time. Two-time All-News4JAX first-team selection. She finished with 313 kills and a 60% kill percentage. Led team in service aces (61) and second in blocks (60). Cincinnati commit.

Second team

Position, Player, School, Class

OH Grace Albaugh, Bolles, Jr.: Team-best 268 kills (44% kill percentage) and led with 55 aces. Added 136 digs, 20 blocks for 13-12 Bulldogs.

S Alexis Chin, Bishop Kenny, Sr.: Leader of Kenny’s offense. Had 877 assists. Added 62 kills, 41 aces, 19 blocks, 170 digs for 20-10 regional finalist.

MB Isabella Collier, Creekside, Sr.: Team leader in blocks (54) and kills (141) and kill percentage (46%) for district champion Knights.

MB/OH Christina Jackson, Yulee, Sr.: Had 319 kills, 60 aces, 35 blocks, 168 digs in the best all-around season of her four-year career.

OH Rachel Johnson, Ponte Vedra, Sr.: Had 276 kills and a 39.1 kill percentage. Had 34 blocks, 31 aces, 190 digs for 29-2 Sharks.

OH Jenna Otts, Bartram Trail, Jr.: Had 326 kills and a 44.5 kill percentage. Added team-best 68 aces, 23 blocks and 103 digs.

MB Robinson Repass, Providence, Jr.: Had 239 kills, 45 service aces and 56 blocks for the 18-7 Stallions.

OH/DS Elaina Reynolds, Ridgeview, Sr.: Career-best 285 kills and 325 digs during an exceptional season for the regional finalist Panthers.

Honorable mention

Bartram Trail: OH/RS Lauren Marien, Sr.

Bishop Kenny: OH Bailey Chin, Sr.; L Tina Nika, Sr.; MB/OH Claudia Stockard, So.

Bishop Snyder: OH/S Amelia Thieman, Sr.

Bolles: S Gracie Arnett, So.; OH Bella Bergeron, So.

Christ’s Church: S/RS Sydney Kambach, So.; L/DS Hope Kinman, Sr.

Clay: OH Gracie Farley, Sr.; OH Sydney Erstad, Jr.; L Aubri Martin, So.

Columbia: MB/OH Brandi Oliver, Sr.

Creekside: S/OH Tyler Patterson, Jr.; L Viviana Vasquez, Jr.

Englewood: OH Dajana Ndreu, Sr.

Episcopal: OH Aliyah Nields, Sr.; OH/MB Sierra Wolff, Sr.; L/DS Zoe Tutor, Sr.

Fernandina Beach: OH Katelyn West, Sr.

Fleming Island: OH Rayvn Dunomes, Sr.; S Christina Killingsworth, Sr.

Fletcher: MB Sidney Gaudreault, Sr.; S Hannah Hayward, Fr.; L Traci Schrock, Jr.

Harvest: MB Taylor Marts, 8th; L/DS Carlie Vining, Sr.

Keystone Heights: OH Kamryn Eatmon, Jr.; S Kori Jennings, Jr.; MB Sarah Siebert, Jr.

Mandarin: S/RS Taylor Boyd, Sr.; OH Alani Salas-Garcia, Sr.; S Grace Hollis, Sr.

Menendez: MB Kiali Olivier, So.

Middleburg: S/RS Josie Bemis, Sr.; OH/MB Connor Rahn, So.

Nease: OH Claire Warner, Jr.

Orange Park: OH Ryanne Robinson, Fr.

Ponte Vedra: OH Kendall Mignerey, Sr.; MB Chelsea Sutton, So.; L/DS Ava Witt, Sr.

Ridgeview: L/DS Kasey Casiple, Jr.; RS Teeya Desgoutte, Sr.; S Mariah Bostic-Jones, So.; MB Haley Robinson, So.

St. Johns Country Day: RS Ashlyn Anderson, So.; S Bella Gomez, Fr.; L/DS Kate Jacobs, So.; OH Lauryn Mateo, Jr.

Sandalwood: OH/MB Maya Morozov, Jr.; OH/MB Ryann Prince, Jr.

Trinity Christian: L/DS Ally Carter, Sr.

Union County: S Maegan Beatty, Sr.; OH Jaycee Davis, Jr.; MB/RS Sabrena Howard, Sr.

University Christian: OH Sophia Kardatzke, So.; MB Amanda Mehm, Sr.

Yulee: OH Caroline Brackens, Sr.

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.