Assumption blockers at the net / file photo from The Paducah Sun
Rockets / Jaguars win semis in straight-sets
Assumption 3 Henry Clay 0
The Assumption Rockets needed only 50 minutes to win their state semifinal match in straight-sets over Henry Clay, 25-16, 25-15, 25-12. The Rockets were led by 7th Region Player of the Year Taylor Paulson's 15 kills. Paulson was supported by Lauren Tutwiler's 7 kills and 6 kills each from Miranda Elpers and Alyssa Cavanaugh. Junior setter Alexa Filley's 29 assists and 12 digs paced all players and senior London Ackermann had 11 digs.
The Rockets were never threatened and put the game out of reach with superior net play from Paulson and Tutwiler.
Mercy Academy 3 North Oldham 0
The Mercy Academy Jaguars took the court just 90 minutes after their five-set quarterfinal win over Notre Dame and dispatched a fired-up North Oldham squad in straight sets, 25-15, 25-20, 25-23.
Courtney Crable led the Jags with 17 kills and helped put away the Mustangs in the third set with timely klls and defensive play. Meredith Jewell's 7 kills helped support the Mercy cause and Morgan Elmore recorded 31 assists.
State Quarterfinals: Mercy Academy 3 Notre Dame Academy 2
The Mercy Jaguars got the win over the Notre Dame Pandas when it counted.
On September 11, the Jaguars took the first two sets and then dropped three straight to the Pandas.
But in the quarterfinals of the KHSAA state volleyball tournament, the No. 4 ranked Jaguars exacted revenge on the No. 2 ranked Pandas in another five set thriller: 26-24, 25-22, 16-25, 23-25, 15-13.
The Mercy win featured outstanding performances from outside hitter Courtney Crable (26 kills) and freshman setter Morgan Elmore (44 assists) as well as unexpected contributions from senior Ashley Jefferson (9 kills), sophomore Devon Rachel (5 kills) and defensive specialist Nikki Koval who recorded a team-high 9 digs.
“I’ve got confidence in this group from one-to-fifteen, and I mean that I feel good about any player that I can put in any situation to get the job done,” said Mercy head coach Todd Garvey. “Our second team really pushes our starters in every practice and that gives me confidence in all of them.”
The Jaguars were paced in the first two sets by Crable’s 13 kills, 3 aces and a block. She was a formidable force for the Mercy team as they dismantled the very strong Notre Dame squad.
“There were some nerves, but I was happy that our team could pull it out,” said Crable. “We’ve been working hard all year for this moment. And Devon (Rachel) played amazing. It was great to see her step up and play that well.”
The Pandas, led by junior outside hitter and Penn State commit Heidi Thelen, dropped the first two sets before cranking up their offense. The Jaguars committed 10 and 11 scoring errors in the third and fourth sets, which contributed much to the Pandas’ winning those two sets.
But in the final set, the Jaguars recorded five blocks for points, two by 5’6” middle blocker Alysha Thomas and one each from Crable, Rachel and Jefferson, to seal the victory.
“We lost a lot of energy after those first two games, but Koval and Rachel and others supplied that energy in the last two games,” said Garvey. “It was almost a mirror image of the first time we played them. I think the girls started thinking about the last time we played them and that got in their heads. I felt like we needed a spark and those two provided it.”
The Jaguars face Assumption in the state championship match.