October 26th, 2017

Jaguars win 19th straight regional crown

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Conor Revell

Staff Writer


Jaguars win 19th straight regional crown
The Jaguars with the Sixth Region trophy / photo by Conor Revell

If Mercy’s volleyball team is ever going to lose in the Sixth Region Tournament, it would be Butler or Holy Cross to most likely pull off the shocker, but that day will have to wait at least one more year.

Mercy cruised past Butler 25-8, 25-20, 25-15 to win their 19th straight Sixth Region title Thursday night at Valley High.

“I think they know, it’s not so much the streak, it’s that they have to play consistent the whole time,” Mercy head coach Matt Thomerson said. “At this time of year, you have to play your best. We played awesome in the first set and then Butler settled in and got more comfortable. We had to do a better job of being more aggressive.”

Interestingly enough, this matchup was a familiar regional final as Mercy has beaten Butler or Holy Cross in each of the past nine regional championship games. Presentation was the last regional runner-up that wasn’t either of those teams and is now in the Seventh Region.

Mercy is 122-2 in regional play since 2005 and ironically their last loss in the region came to Thomerson and Holy Cross Sep. 2, 2011. Since then, Mercy has won 57 straight games in the Sixth Region.

“There’s pressure because we play a lot of teams in the regional tournament that we haven’t seen,” Mercy libero Lauren Tharp said. “The only team we had seen this season had been Holy Cross. We don’t know what to expect but we’re here to beat everybody.”

It was never a contest in the first game as Mercy (33-6) raced out to a 14-2 lead and led by as many as 17 multiple times. 

Butler (26-13) played with a bit more fire and passion in game two and led 16-12 before the Jaguars settled down and went on a 13-4 run to close the game.

“I think anytime you play a slower game and then you go to a fast pace, you’re always going to have to adjust,” Thomerson said. “Our kids know that when they see a Butler or Holy Cross that those teams are going to step up. We tried to speed things up tonight and worked on things that we needed to work on.”

Mercy took control early in game three building an 11-4 lead and led by as many as 12 points to seal the deal.

The Jaguars were dominant on both offense and defense – delivering 41 kills, 40 assists, and six aces on the offensive side – and 36 digs and four blocks on the defensive end.  

Jayme Scott led all players with 12 kills and Neci Harris added 11 kills. Emma Schurfranz added six kills and a game high four aces while Caitlin Carpenter recorded five kills.

“We need to do a better job of doing our jobs,” Harris said. “I think we have a hard time focusing in on the little things. We worry too much about what the other team is doing on the other side of the court. We need to worry about what we’re doing.”

Elena Scott, Jayme’s cousin, ran the offense and had a game high 24 assists. Jenna Laemmle added 12 assists.

“It’s nice having my cousin right there, we’re like the same person, it’s kind of scary actually,” Jayme said. “I don’t tell her what to do but I can give her advice and tell her what is open and where to possibly go with the ball.”

Lauren Tharp led the Mercy defense with 12 digs.

The Jaguars advance to the state tournament and will play Paintsville (33-4) in the first round next Friday (Nov. 3) at 12:30 p.m. at Valley.

“We have to have four days of hard practice before that,” Thomerson said. “Every match is going to be potentially your last so we have to play like it. We need to play hard no matter who we play. We have to know our team and be the better team that day. Even though we’re on the other side of the bracket and don’t have to face Assumption until the final, we think we have the tougher side of the bracket.”

 

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