August 21st, 2012
Mercy Knocks Off Holy Cross In Three Sets
Jaguars dig deep to take out Holy Cross
Mercy volleyball coach Todd Garvey knew his young team would be challenged by a tough early season schedule. What he didn’t know is how they would respond. It’s safe to say they have aced every test so far.
Junior Courtney Crable came up with 13 kills to lead the host Jaguars to a 25-15, 25-19, 27-25 victory over no. 6 Holy Cross Tuesday night, while sophomore outside hitter Meredith Jewell added 7 kills, three of which came in a decisive rally in the tight third set.
“Those are two of our leaders this year, and they came up big down the stretch in that last set,” said Garvey. “I’m proud of the way we finished, but we just have to be better and more consistent from start to finish.”
Early on, Holy Cross let the third-ranked Jaguars know they had come to play. Behind a kill from junior Samantha Martin, who garnered seven of them, and a block from Summer Starks, the Cougars took an early 4-3 first-set lead. Mercy answered with and ace from sophomore Lexie Hamrick and a Crable smash to take a 6-4 lead, and the Jaguars went on an 8-0 run shortly thereafter. Freshman setter Morgan Elmore served flawlessly during the run.
Holy Cross committed nine errors during the first set and those errors were tough to overcome against the talented, aggressive Jaguars. The Cougars stayed close early in the second set behind kills from Starks and sophomore Chelsea Vessels, a transfer from Mercy.
With the score tied at 4-4 in the second set, the Jaguars took control as libero Leah Edgerton held serve during a 6-0 run. Mercy got key block winners during that stretch from Hamrick and Ashley Jefferson. The home team built a 20-9 lead, only to see Holy Cross cut it to 23-19 after 3 straight kills from Martin. But a Cougars’ service error and a Crable kill ended the set.
First-year coach Elizabeth Schuler was pleased with her team’s performance, but frustrated with the scoreless stretches through the first 2 sets. “It’s just another learning experience for our young team,” she said. “Those first couple of games, we started off a little slow and then we had to come back. It’s hard to win that way against a good team.”
In the third set, the Cougars pushed the Jaguars to the limit. Holy Cross built a 19-14 lead behind 4 kills from sophomore Monica Loftus and an uncharacteristic 8 Mercy errors. Jewell then came to life with 3 kills in 5 points to tie the set at 21-21. Holy Cross scored two in a row on a soaring smash by Martin and an error by the Jaguars, forcing Garvey to call his second timeout. After a Cougar service error, a Crable kill, and Hamrick block, Mercy regained the lead 24-23. A Jaguar net violation tied things again. The teams traded errors, and then a Crable smash and a service winner by Elmore ended the drama.
Garvey said he likes his young team a lot, but they need to learn to forget big wins quicker. Mercy defeated state No. 2 ranked Sacred Heart just two nights earlier.
“We’ve got to do a better job of staying focused and being mentally prepared at the start,” said Garvey. “We had a big win the other night, but I think they need to forget that a little sooner. They got a little complacent, and that can’t happen.”
Mercy improved to 6-0, having dropped only two sets (both to No. 7 ranked St. Henry) this early season. Holy Cross dropped to 2-4.