Santa Fe returns to 4A state championship

Santa Fe celebrates after sweeping Bishop Kenny in the 4A State Semifinal round on Saturday.
Santa Fe celebrates after sweeping Bishop Kenny in the 4A State Semifinal round on Saturday. (Photo by Megan V. Winslow)

For the last two seasons, the playoff winner between Santa Fe (Alachua) and Bishop Kenny (Jacksonville) has earned the Class 4A state title.

On Saturday, the defending 4A state champion Raiders (29-2) hosted the Crusaders (19-10), who they also beat 3-1 in the regular season finale on Oct. 15, and swept the visitors 25-14, 25-10, 25-21 in the FHSAA 4A State Semifinals.

In 2020, Bishop Kenny upset the Raiders in the regional semifinal round. Last year, Santa Fe swept the Crusaders in the Region 1 Final en route to the 2021 4A state championship. It marks 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.

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Santa Fe's Anna Carlisle with a hit against Bishop Kenny on Saturday.
Photo by Megan V. Winslow Santa Fe’s Anna Carlisle with a hit against Bishop Kenny on Saturday.

The bitter loss two years ago still lingers.

“Still angry,” said Santa Fe coach Eric Marshall. “We were the better team. We blew them out in our gym during the regular season, but they did what they needed to do.

“We were more athletic, we were better on the net, but they did everything else better. It’s like it was yesterday for these kids because they feel like they should have two state championships.”

Compared to Santa Fe’s slow start on Tuesday against Bishop Moore in the 4A Region 2 Final, the Raiders started on fire against Bishop Kenny.

For senior Jalyn Stout, last year’s Miss Florida Volleyball, the five Santa Fe seniors knew the importance of Saturday’s match.

“We were talking about it, this being our last home game, so in the locker room we kept thinking about it and were saying, ‘this is our last time here, so we’ve got to go out with a bang,’” she said.  

The Raiders raced to an 8-1 first set lead with Stout scoring on three kills. She would add four more kills and junior Joselynn Sanjurjo added seven as the Crusaders never got closer than five points in the 25-14 Raiders win.

The second set was a near-duplicate of the first with Santa Fe jumping to an 8-0 lead behind Stout’s six kills, along with a service ace from senior Anisa Dorlouis and a kill from junior Alyssa Moneypenny. The Raiders capped the set with an ace from senior Sarah Falck and kills from Sanjurjo and Dorlouis, coupled with two Bishop Kenny hitting errors, to score the final five points in the 25-10 win.  

Santa Fe's Sarah Falck serve
Photo by Megan V. Winslow Santa Fe’s Sarah Falck serve against Bishop Kenny on Saturday.

“(Stout) didn’t have an error until her 32nd swing,” Marshall said. “Right until the end, we were able to run our offense, which is why Jalyn didn’t have any errors because the ball was being put where she needed it to be put. And if she can run that inside ball, which is nasty because of the angle she’s able to hit it, we’re pretty dangerous in that.”

The Raiders started the third set just as quickly – going ahead 9-3 on three Stout kills, a Dorlouis tip, a kill from senior Camille Johnson and an ace from senior Miya Thomas – but then the Crusaders turned up their intensity. Bishop Kenny pulled within 11-8 and 21-18 with its season on the line.

“We played about two and three-quarter sets about as good as we can play volleyball, then we got super tight at the end,” Marshall said. “We just got nervous at the end having to try and close it.”

The Raiders finished the third set on two Johnson kills and Dorlouis hitting the match-winning point.

Santa Fe will face Academy of the Holy Names (Tampa), who Santa Fe swept in last year’s state semifinal round, at 4 p.m. on Saturday at Polk State College in Winter Haven.

Heading into this week, Marshall said the team, “will rest a lot, more than probably other teams would, because if we don’t know how to do this by now, then I’m not a very good coach.

“And then we’ll practice really hard a couple of days, go down a day early and have some fun, watch the 3A and 6A (championship matches) and let the girls enjoy that atmosphere because, for five of those (senior) kids, that’s it. It will be emotional.”

Santa Fe's Joslyn Stout winds up for one of her 21 kills on Saturday.
Photo by Megan V. Winslow Santa Fe’s Joslyn Stout winds up for one of her 21 kills on Saturday.

For Stout, who had 21 kills, 12 assists and eight digs, the season remains incomplete.  

“(We need to) stay focused,” she said heading into the championship match. “It’s something we want and there’s a team in our way, so we just want to win.”

Dorlouis had 19 assists, nine digs, four kills and two aces. Sanjurjo had 12 kills and two blocks, Thomas had 24 digs and seven assists, Falck added 10 digs, junior Olivia Beavers had six digs and Johnson had four kills.

Saturday, Nov. 5, results 

Class 4A State Semifinals 

Santa Fe (Alachua) 3, Bishop Kenny (Jacksonville) 0 

Saturday, Nov. 12 

Class 4A State Championship
Polk State College, Winter Haven
 

Santa Fe (Alachua) vs. Academy of the Holy Names (Tampa), 4 p.m.

Celebrating a Jalyn Stout kill
Photo by Megan V. Winslow Celebrating a Jalyn Stout kill that put Santa Fe ahead 22-13 in the first set against Bishop Kenny on Saturday.
Santa Fe's Jalyn Stout and Joselynn Sanjurjo with a block attempt
Photo by Megan V. Winslow Santa Fe’s Jalyn Stout and Joselynn Sanjurjo with a block attempt against Bishop Kenny on Saturday.
Santa Fe coach Eric Marshall upset over an official's call prior to a timeout against Bishop Kenny on Saturday.
Photo by Megan V. Winslow Santa Fe coach Eric Marshall upset over an official’s call prior to a timeout against Bishop Kenny on Saturday.

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