October 6th, 2017

Rockets sweep Mercy

Block_eric thorne

Eric Thorne

Staff Writer

Rockets sweep Mercy
Assumption's Camille Nazor gets a kill against Mercy's Neci Harris / photo by Mark Sims

With one week remaining in the volleyball season it was fitting that it began with a rivalry game between Kentucky’s top two teams.

Assumption cruised past visiting Mercy 25-19, 28-26, 25-19 on Ron Kordes Court Thursday night.

The two met early in September and Assumption (30-3) came away with a hard fought sweep. Round two was no different as the Jaguars pounded away at the No. 1 team in the state, but came up short on executing the little things.

Mercy came into the match having won 11 of its last 12 matches, while Assumption had won six of its previous eight.

“It’s a rivalry game with lots of emotion, but I was really, really happy with the way we played tonight,” Kordes said. “I thought we kept our composure especially in the second set when we had large leads and they came back and tied it on us.”

A slow start also plagued Mercy (25-6) as they fell behind 10-2 early and Assumption big hitters Mary Ann O’Toole, Rylee Rader and Anna DeBeer set the tone early.

However, Mercy answered behind Emma Schurfranz’s three kills, a service ace from Jayme Scott and errors made it 12-10 Rockets.

“We knew they were a really good team and we just had to stick with our plan and execute what we had worked all week in practice on,” DeBeer said. “We had to stay composed with it being a packed house, play our game and it would pay off. With the home court it was an advantage and think we really played well.”

Assumption took off on another 10-2 run with Rader leading the charge as the sophomore seemed to find every open spot finishing with four kills in the first set.

“It’s always exciting to play Mercy and we came out prepared and I think we did what we had been working on,” Rader said. “I just went out not trying to make any mistakes, swing too hard and just do my best to help us win. We stayed composed and that I think was all the difference.”

Set two seemed to mirror the first with the team’s starting out tied at 2-2 before Assumption went on a 9-3 run as four different players recorded kills and an ace from Payton Frederick.

Mercy again rose to the challenge and reeled off six straight points as sophomore Caitlin Carpenter had three kills and Neci Harris a block.

“We started out pretty slow which was hard, but to come back in the second set and push the points and realize it’s one point a time and not get discouraged,” Shurfranz said. “I wasn’t playing my best and give Neci Harris credit she came in had some words for me and really turned on my switch and got me going.”

Jaguars coach Matthew Thomerson wasn’t displeased with his team’s effort at all but knew it was just a matter of a point one way or the other during those runs.

“At times when we executed the game play we put in place we were winning statistically and winning points,” Thomerson said. “If we aren’t down five or six points and have to push back and play from behind we’ll be ok. We learned a lot and hopefully we’ll see them again in November. Tonight we pushed them and exposed some things about them and that’s encouraging. We just need  to be a little more disciplined. ”

“I think in set two we started being a little more disciplined after we got off to bad start and knew we had to mix things up and fix what we weren’t doing right,” Scott said. “We have to be more aggressive and get off to faster starts. We’re close to being where we need to be. Real close. When we’re at our best we’ll be real good.”

Assumption pushed the lead back to as much as six at 21-15 as Rader controlled the front line before Mercy again rallied to close to 21-20 on huge blocks from Carpenter and Schurfranz. Scott provided a crushing kill gain a 24-24 tie and another for a 26-26 tie before two miss-hits gave set two to the Rockets.

Kordes knew his team had its hands full entering the third set and that proved to be the case as the Jaguars played much more inspired.

“I think holding on there to win that set was huge it could easily have gone the other way,” Kordes said. “There was some really good serving going on out there tonight and a good number of runs, but I was happy to see us being aggressive and I was just very impressed.”

Set three featured 13 ties with the last coming at 17-17, but that’s when DeBeer seized control for the Rockets. The sophomore stared with a huge kill and then stepped back to the service line and energized a 6-0 run that included two more kills of her own.

“Mercy had some good runs that let them come back and I just knew I couldn’t let that happen any longer when I went back to serve,” DeBeer said. “I knew I had to be aggressive and finish it off.”

“Good teams will always make runs, but if you lose your composure and get impatient then you play into their hands and that’s something we didn’t do tonight which makes me happy,” Kordes said.

Mercy had no answer for the closing run despite four kills from Shurfranz in the third set and three from Scott.


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