Santa Fe (Alachua) defeated the Academy of the Holy Names (Tampa) in four sets to claim its second state volleyball championship dominantly Saturday at Polk State College in Winter Haven.
The Raiders (30-2) won 25-13, 21-25, 25-12, 25-14 over the Jaguars (22-5).
It marks the first time Santa Fe faced the Academy of the Holy Names since Santa Fe swept the Jaguars in last year’s state semifinal round.
“This is bittersweet,” said Santa Fe coach Eric Marshall. “I am losing five kids who have played for me for a long time. For them to go out and win back-to-back state titles is a big deal. That room back there got emotional for the girls and me.”
The Raiders stuck to the game plan that worked for them in the semifinal match against Bishop Kenny.
Early in the first set, it was a back-and-forth battle between the teams, 8-6, until the momentum shifted in the Raiders’ favor with an 8-0 run, stretching the score to 15-6. The Jaguars attempted to close the gap but fell short 25-13.
The second set was a different story.
The Jaguars came out with a new fire and forced a Santa Fe timeout after leading 8-6. After the timeout, the Jaguars didn’t let up, stretching the score to 22-14. The Raiders never gave up and fought their way back into the game 22-19. But, in the end, the Jaguars took set two, 25-21.
“Errors,” said Marshall. “We gave them 10 free points. We talked about the coaches calming down and reminded them to take a deep breath and have fun.”
The Raiders listened and began dominating the court.
Santa Fe looked like a different team, taking an 8-2 lead early in the third set.
Sparking the rally were seniors Jalyn Stout and Anisa Dorlouis. Both delivered monster kills on top of the shutdown defense from their teammates, resulting in the Raiders winning the set, 25-12.
The fourth set was similar as Santa Fe went ahead 12-5, highlighted by Miya Thomas’ seven service points and ace. The foot didn’t come off the gas pedal as the Raiders pulled ahead 23-13, paced by Stouts’ five digs and five kill assists.
“We knew it was all mental,” said Stout. “We had some mistakes and errors that we shouldn’t have had. The second set was a reality check for us. We needed that.”
Stout finished with 28 kills, 17 digs, 13 assists and two aces. Thomas added 23 digs, nine assists, nine service points and two aces. Dorlouis had 18 assists, 15 digs, 12 kills and one ace.
“I am grateful we could go out with a win,” said Stout. “We are a special group of girls, so it’s bittersweet, but I am happy I did it with them.”
Saturday’s game was the fourth time in five seasons Santa Fe has advanced to the state championship match, finishing runner-up in 2018 (6A) and 2019 (4A) before winning the school’s first title last year.
Editor’s note: This story was updated.