August 21st, 2018

Valkyries topple Jaguars

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Conor Revell

Staff Writer

Valkyries topple Jaguars
The Valkyries try to make a save / photo by Conor Revell

The Mercy and Sacred Heart volleyball teams treated a standing room only crowd to a classic thriller Monday night.

Sacred Heart battled and battled and defeated the visiting Jaguars 23-25, 25-23, 16-25, 25-19, 15-13 in five-set thriller.

“They’re a great team,” Sacred Heart head coach Brett Versen said. “They’re going to make plays, they’re going to score points, we just had to stay strong, and trust what we’re doing. They kept their heads in it and started believing in each other and that’s what we needed to push through.”

Mercy (3-1) had tons of momentum after winning the third set by nine and some thought the Valkyries (5-2) were doomed.  

“We didn’t execute our game plan in game four and five,” Mercy head coach Matt Thomerson said. “You beat a team by nine points, you should come out a little bit stronger than what we did. We just have to be more consistent. Our setter didn’t make the best decisions, but Sacred Heart was forcing us to make those decisions.”

Olivia Fogo (20 kills, four blocks) and Kristen Clemons (nine kills, five blocks) dominated the net and paved the way for Sacred Heart to get 56 kills and 19 blocks.

“We had to watch Mercy and their ball setters especially Elena (Scott),” Fogo said. “She’s a very aggressive player. She’s fast and you have to be ready. A lot of times we had to be in our positions. Our blocks had to be disciplined.”

Emily Arnold directed the Valkyries offense and finished with 32 assists while Taylor Eisert came off the bench and finished with 20 assists.

“We had a lot of people step up tonight,” Versen said. “A lot of people. This was the first large home game for some of these freshmen. Kristen and Olivia dominated at the net. Our setters did a great job of distributing the ball. Our back row stepped up and made defensive plays when we needed. It was an all around team effort.”

Mercy was led by Emma Schurfranz (14 kills, two blocks), Jayme Scott (10 kills, one block), and Caitlin Carpenter (12 kills) at the net and finished with 50 kills and 14 blocks.

“I think we need to learn how to fight towards the end,” Jayme Scott said. “I know we went back and forth in some sets and went up big in that third set. When that fifth set comes around, you know you need to finish what your started.”

Elena Scott controlled the offense and finished with a game high 37 assists.

“We had to make sure we were good defensively and offensively at the net,” Clemons said. “I wanted to gets lot of blocks defensively and then get good kills on offensive.”

The first game featured four ties and five lead changes. Mercy led 23-17 at one point, but Sacred Heart clawed back to within 24-23 before Emma Schurfranz finished it off for the Jaguars with a kill.

Game two featured four ties as the Valkyries led 16-11 before Mercy fought back and tied it at 21 before Sacred Heart scored four of the next six points to finish it.

The Jaguars dominated game three when it broke a 11-all tie and scored 14 of the next 18 points to go up by one.

“We still played well,” Thomerson said. “We just have to play better down the home stretch and execute. But, it’s early, we will get better. I’m proud of them. It’s one match early in the regular season. We’re all going to get better come October and that’s when it matters.”

But, the Valkyries answered and never trailed in game four and cruised to a six points win.

“I think we came together as a team,” Clemons said. “We had been down a little bit energy wise before that game. We came back strong in that fourth set and then we finished it off in the fifth set.”

Mercy came out hot in game building a 7-4 lead before Sacred Heart battled back and tied it at seven.

“We had already lost the first set and then we were thinking after the third set let’s do it again,” Fogo said. “We wanted to shake it off and get right back out there because no matter what you can’t do anything if you don’t go back out there.”

The two teams fought through four ties and then the Valkyries broke 13-all tie and scored the final two points to end it.

“Sometimes it comes down to who wants to make those extra plays,” Versen said. “Those who do are going to get the lucky rolls and lucky bounces. You have to work to get that. We gave ourselves opportunities and made those plays happen. Last year we had them 14-11 in game five and then we collapsed. They weren’t going to let that happen tonight and I’m proud of them for that.”



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