September 18th, 2020

Valkyries Defeat Mercy in a Five Set Thriller

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Ed Peak

Staff Writer


Valkyries Defeat Mercy in a Five Set Thriller
photo by Ed Peak

 It took Sacred Heart Academy a while to get things together in its volleyball match with rival Mercy, Friday. The host Valkyries spotted the Jaguars a two sets to none lead.

 

After losing 22-25, 15-25, SHA (4-2) roared back to win the next three sets 25-21, 25-20 and 15-10. The two teams have split two matches in the early part of the season as Mercy won in the Louisville Invitational Tournament, September 12, 2-1.

 

"At first, it was really hard because the other team was really fighting back," said outside hitter junior Tess Schrenger. "One of the things that I said. We can't be scared in this game. We just started to be go after balls and really be aggressive. It was all effort."

 

Sacred Heart led 20-18 in the first set but Mercy outscored the Valkyries 6-2 as senior outside hitter Fallan Latham had two hits for points.

 

The Jaguars (6-2) ranked No. 1 in a preseason poll by coaches breezed to a 25-15 win in game two. Leading 10-7 Mercy scored nine of the next 10 points and were rolling.

 

But the third set was different as SHA won 25-21. "I honestly think we just lost focus," said Lanham. "Our centers couldn't connect with the hitters. It wasn't just the setters. I think just overall we have places we need to work on and get back to practice."

 

SHA led 24-19 before Mercy scored two quick points but the Valkyries held on.

Mercy led 13-8 in the fourth set behind Schrenger, Julia McNeley and Alice Kemp who had scoring hits. McNeley's winner gave the Valkyries a lead at 18-17. 

 

"We started talking things out," said senior Lucy Malone. "We needed to be a team. We were playing as individuals. That never gets a team very far. We decided we needed to come together. Support each other. Just shake it off if we make a mistake push through it."

 

Sacred Heart, ranked third in the coaches poll, trailed 9-7 in the deciding set but scored eight of the matches last nine points including seven straight during the spurt.

 

"We worked so hard for this," said Malone. "We fought through those first two games. We've come this far it was our time to win."

 

While things weren't going well. Sacred Heart didn't fold. "I think we out worked them. Got into their heads. We out worked them. We stayed excited whether we got the point or not," said Malone.

 

Sacred Heart coach Brett Versen said he challenged his team. "We couldn't finish in the first set, came out strong just couldn't finish. We took a step back in the second. We told them we have to be stronger mentally. We responded. They fought and bounced back."

 

Mercy coach Matthew Thomerson had no excuses for his team. "We didn't play well (after the first two games). They just played better. We weren't stopping them on defense. I think we tried to do too much. We played as one as individuals a little bit.

"That was awesome volleyball playing our rivals in their home gym. Hats off to them. They were the better team tonight."

 

 

 

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