The West Orange Warriors capped off a perfect season sweeping Palm Beach Gardens 3-0 to win their first ever volleyball state title Saturday night at UNF Arena in Jacksonville.
The Class 9A finals matched the undefeated Warriors against a Gators team that hadn’t lost a match since Aug. 29. Palm Beach Gardens took control in the first set behind Florida State-signee middle blocker Maddie Anderson’s seven kills, but West Orange clawed back into a match that contained 14 ties and 11 lead changes. Senior Makala Heidelberg and sophomore Taylor Head propelled the Warriors to the 25-23 victory, racking up five kills each in the set.
The Warriors never relinquished the lead in the second set, leading from the first serve to the final point, taking a 2-0 advantage after a 25-21 win. Heidelberg (Tulane-signee) tallied four kills in the set and finished the night with 12 kills, 2 blocks, 9 digs and an ace in the final game of her high school career.
Palm Beach Gardens (26-2) wouldn’t go quietly into the night, rallying in the third set from four points down to tie the match at 22, forcing head coach Ross Usie to call a timeout and refocus his team. After the timeout, Head notched two more kills to finish the night with a game-high 18 kills, 3 blocks and 9 digs en route to being named the player of the game.
West Orange (29-0) becomes just the third Central Florida team in history to finish the season undefeated and wins its first state title in school history.