October 11th, 2019

DeBeer and Rader lead Assumption past Mercy

Dalton Pence 

Staff Writer 

DeBeer and Rader lead Assumption past Mercy
File photo by Paul Najjar

In front of a packed crowd at Assumption with a national media broadcast and coverage, the state’s top two volleyball teams put on a show Thursday evening. Seniors Anna DeBeer and Rylee Rader came up big for the top-ranked Assumption Rockets in a straight set victory over the #2 Mercy Jaguars (25-19, 25-20, 29-17).

“It’s such a great rivalry”, Assumption head coach Ron Kordes explained. “I tell the girls all the time that this is high school sports at its best. You’re playing for some bragging rights; it’s Assumption-Mercy.”


Both seniors being plagued by injuries this season, DeBeer recorded a match-high 17 kills to go along with three service aces, while Rader added 10 kills of her own. 


“I’ve been on-and-off all season with this foot injury and overused-shoulder injury, so it’s really at this point just “mind over body”, trying to get through state and rest after that”, DeBeer explained. The University of Louisville commit put on a display of power and finesse in a matchup between the two nationally-ranked squads.


Much to Kordes’ delight, his team is finally getting fully healthy. “Rylee coming back was a mental motivational asset for all of us”, Kordes explained.


The Rockets controlled the majority of the first two sets, snagging the lead early and holding it through a slew of back-and-forth scoring plays from both teams. “It’s really huge to get the momentum early on”, DeBeer said. “I think we grabbed it from the start. They made some good plays and good runs, but I think we stayed composed and didn’t make as many errors as we did the last time we played them.”


“We’ve been struggling the past few weeks”, Kordes added. “We haven’t had a lot of consistency and have made a lot of errors, but we played the cleanest three sets of volleyball tonight that maybe we’ve had this year.”


The back-and-forth scoring was put on full display in the third set. Assumption led most of the set, but Mercy made things interesting by forcing Kordes to call a timeout with his team leading 22-21. Junior Fallan Lanham came up big down the stretch for the Jaguars, recording a couple of kills to even the score at 24, but Assumption would come out victorious 29-27. 


“We think we’re going to get out in set three, but they (Mercy) won’t let a ball hit the floor”, Kordes said. “Their defenses aren’t amazing; they wouldn’t quit, but that’s what you would expect.”


Despite the loss, Mercy head coach Matt Thomerson is using this as a learning experience as the Jaguars prepare for postseason play. “I think we played a little nervous and tight tonight,” he explained. “We had a lot of unforced errors. We’re just going to have to be willing to go to the board and get better, the pressure is on. We didn’t serve well tonight; our defense was great, but you can only defend so many balls.”


Senior Caitlin Carpenter led Mercy with 15 kills. “Caitlin is a senior who wants it bad; she wants to win”, Thomerson said. “She did a great job, her impact is huge defensively and offensively. Jessica Just is a senior; she made a huge dig with her right arm to make an awesome play. Fallan Lanham made a one-armed play. The kids want to win and that’s important.”


Lanham finished with 10 kills (six in the third set), and junior Allison Holloway added eight. Setter Elena Scott notched 35 assists for the Jaguars.


Mercy (25-5) will return to action next week as they host Male on Tuesday. Assumption (26-7) concludes their regular season with a matchup at Notre Dame on Thursday.




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