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Mercy sweeps Churchill to advance to regional final

By: Jeff Dullack, November 11, 2014, 11:00 pm

Bloomfield Hills – In its first two matches of the postseason Farmington Hills Mercy had made quick work of its opponents, topping Farmington in three games and sweeping Detroit Renaissance in the district final.

And in the regional semifinal at Bloomfield Hills Marian on Tuesday night, the Marlins kept rolling along.

Mercy registered its second straight sweep of the postseason as the Marlins swept away Livonia Churchill, 25-20, 25-16 and 25-20 to advance to the regional final.

The regional final will be held on Thursday night, back at Marian high school as the Marlins will face Birmingham Seaholm, which came away with a sweep over Groves in the first semifinal of the night.

“I think the big emphasis for us was remaining consistent,” said Mercy coach Loretta Vogel. “I know it got a little different at the end, but we try to play the game not tremendously emotional, so even when they (Churchill) got their kills, it wouldn’t be something that necessarily bother us. I thought service was good, those are some of the things I felt were key and we had a pretty good scouting report and I think that was helpful for us.”

In the first game, Mercy jumped out to a 12-8 lead after a Kayla Fisher Kill, but Churchill would narrow the deficit down to just two, 16-14 after a Natalie Panek kill.

But the Marlins would close out the set on a strong note, as they would pick up a 25-20 win as a Jenna Lerg kill would clinch the game one win.

In the second game, neither team managed to build much of a lead as a Rayna Yetts kill for Canton cut the Mercy lead down to just 12-11, but the Marlins responded with a 13-5 run, kick-started by back-to-back heads up plays by Shanleigh Conlan to register points and highlighted by three kills from Lerg to close out a 25-16 win in the second game.

Lerg said that a big reason why the Marlins were able to pull away throughout the night was how they overcame ups and downs throughout the season and have learned to overcome runs by opposing teams.

“We’ve had some really high highs throughout the season and some really low lows,” she said. “I think working through those, we’ve come to a certain level right now that we’re consistently playing well and even if they fire three or four points at us, we can slide out and get it done ourselves.”
Lerg and Fisher led the way for Mercy, each recording 13 kills to pace the Marlin’s attack.

In the third game Mercy led by as many as eight points, and built up a 22-14 lead late after a Bella McDonald kill, but Churchill would not go quietly as the Chargers responded with a 6-1 run, behind a pair of aces from Yetts to trim the deficit down to 23-20.

However, Mercy held off Churchill in the final game as a Lauren Hunter kill sealed the match win with a 25-20 win in the third set.

Yetts helped pace Churchill with nine kills and 13 assists, while Lauren St. Pierre finished with 22 digs for the Chargers.