Santa Fe (Alachua) never trailed in any game and dominated the North Marion (Citra) Colts, 25-4, 25-10, 25-7, for the District 4-4A Tournament championship on Thursday in Alachua.
After sweeping Palatka in their first district match Tuesday, Santa Fe coach Eric Marshall was concerned the Raiders might start slow.
“I was actually a little worried because you have an easy game the other night, so you’re kind of looking to be a little flat at the beginning,” he said.
Instead, Santa Fe started the first game charging to a 9-0 lead and never slowed down the rest of the match.
The Raiders (24-3) have won 11 straight matches and have had deep runs in the state tournament the past three seasons, including a Class 6A runner up finish in 2018, and a Class 4A runner up finish in 2019, before falling in the regional finals to eventual Class 4A state champion Bishop Kenny (Jacksonville) in five games in 2020.
“We will take no one lightly and we’re not going to come in here to teach our next class how to play, we’re going to play now,” Marshall said. “We were short last year because I don’t think we had that mentality and we will not be making that mistake again. So I don’t care who we’re playing at any time, we’re having that mentality of taking care of our side of the net and that’s the way we’re going to approach every single game.”
Oak Hall School also captured a district title.
The Eagles (19-8) swept St. Johns Country Day (Orange Park), 25-8, 25-22, 25-12, to win Class 2A-District 4.
Elsewhere, Dixie County (Cross City), the No. 2 seed in Class 1A-District 6, upset top seed Bell on the road.
The Bears (13-10) swept the Bulldogs (14-11), 25-21, 25-21, 25-20.
“It was a team effort,” said Dixie County coach Kelsie Parrott. “It’s special, especially only being a second-year coach. Changing the mentality of the program is really hard. It’s been a journey, but very special and very well deserved.”
The Union County volleyball team also won a district title, but it wasn’t easy.
The host and top seed Tigers defeated Newberry, last year’s 1A state runner-up, in five sets to win Class 1A-District 7.
Newberry won the first set, 25-15, but the Tigers bounced back to win the second set, 25-14.
Union County won the third set, 25-22, but Newberry (17-10) answered with a 25-19 win in the fourth set to force a decisive fifth set.
The Tigers (14-8) won the fifth set, 15-11, to win the championship.
Branford defeated Lafayette (Mayo) in a 5-set thriller, 19-25, 27-25, 19-25, 25-23, and 15-11, to win the Class 1A-District 5 title.
The Bucs improved to 12-6, while the Hornets fell to 17-8.
C.J. Gish contributed to this report.
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