Nationally ranked Gainesville P.K. Yonge finished off a dominating season in the Class 3A state championship match Friday night at UCF with a three-game sweep against Palmer Trinity 25-16, 25-11, 25-14.
For P.K. Yonge seniors Jac’cara Walker, Gabby O’Connell, Sammy Mueller and Kiki Sermons, winning consecutive state titles wraps up a career at the school they could only dream about when they started four-plus years ago.
“It’s kind of unreal because we literally started at the bottom with the program,” Sermons said. “We had dysfunctional nets and everything. It was so bad. ... So it hasn’t really sunk in that we just went back to back. ... We did something twice that people only wish to do once in a lifetime.”
P.K. Yonge (31-1) secured match point on a block by Sermons — her only one in the match — sending the team into a pile in the middle of the court.
“Everything went in slow motion,” Sermons said. “Everything slowed down in my eyes.”
It was a well-balanced effort at the net for the Blue Wave, ranked seventh in the nation according to MaxPreps and first in the state. O’Connell had 12 kills and three blocks, Walker had 11 kills and three digs, Mueller had 34 assists and five killer aces and sophomore Amanda Phegley had 10 kills and two blocks.
“That capped off an incredible year and just proved to everybody who the best team in Florida is without question,” coach Chad Davis said.
“What these four [seniors] have given to this program — completely converting it into the best program in the state of Florida and one of the tops in the nation — is something I’ll always be grateful for.”
After winning last year in Class 4A and this year in 3A, the Blue Wave now has four state titles, more than any other school in their area.
Palmer Trinity (18-8) never threatened in the first two sets. The Falcons had the third set tied four times but never past 10-all.
“I believe we could have done so much better,” Palmer Trinity coach William Gonzalez said. “We trained hard and the results weren’t really what we wanted as a team. ... P.K. is a great team, and when you play a team like that, you have to play your best.”
The Falcons, playing in their fourth final four and second state championship game, were led by Ashely Quero (eight kills), Seide Grace (seven kills), Juliette Hamilton (22 assists) and Grace Hibshman (four blocks).
For P.K. Yonge, to make it through the season unscathed in Florida — its only loss came to a state champion from Oregon in an elite tournament in Arizona — made it all worth it for Mueller.
“This one is really rewarding,” Mueller said.
If you go
What: The state girls’ volleyball finals
When: Through Saturday.
Where: The Venue at UCF, 4000 Central Florida Blvd., Orlando
Friday’s results — Class 1A: Sneads d. Mayo Lafayette, 3-0 (25-13, 25-9, 25-12); 2A: Lake Worth Christian d. St. John Lutheran, 3-1 (25-22, 18-25, 25-22, 25-20); 3A: P.K. Yonge d. Palmer Trinity, 3-0 (25-16, 25-11, 25-14).
Saturday’s championships — Class 4A: Cardinal Gibbons vs. Ocala Trinity Catholic, 9:05 a.m.; 5A: Orlando Bishop Moore vs. Bishop Kenny, 11:35 a.m.; 6A: Jensen Beach vs. New Port Richey Mitchell, 2:05 p.m.; 7A: St. Thomas Aquinas vs. Tampa Plant, 4:35; 8A: Jupiter vs. Winter Springs, 7:05