Mercy tops Seaholm in four games to advance to Class A quarterfinal
Bloomfield Hills – With Farmington Hills Mercy holding a two-games-to-one lead in the fourth game of the night, the Marlins had a late 25-24 lead over Seaholm after a Kayla Fisher kill, looking to claim a Class A regional title and advance to the quarterfinals.
And after a premature celebration on the Mercy bench after registering its 25th point, the usual number it takes to clinch a game, Seaholm put Mercy’s back against the wall, hoping to force a fifth game after a Kate Cary kill put the Maples on top, 26-25.
But the Marlins settled back in as another kill by Fisher knotted the game back up at 25-25 and an Emily Crowley ace gave her team the lead back, 26-25, before Mercy would finally pull out the match win, topping Seaholm in four games, 25-14, 19-25, 25-14 and 28-26.
The Marlins will now play in the Class A quarterfinals at Utica Ford high school on Tuesday night, where they will face Romeo, which upset No. 5 ranked Clarkston to pick up a regional title of its own on Thursday.
“I thought Seaholm came at us with everything,” said Mercy coach Loretta Vogel. “In the second game, they took us out of our block, which was huge, so we adjusted to go higher off their fingertips and we rotated a little bit to their matchups as well. When (Seaholm) serves, they have one rotation and when they receive, they have another one, so we made that adjustment as well.”
After Seaholm bounced back from a game one loss to take game two to tie the match at 1-1 heading to the third game, Mercy responded with a strong start in game three, jumping out to an early 8-2 lead behind a kill from Jenna Lerg and another point registered by Shanleigh Conlan.
While the Maples would bounce back to trim the deficit back down to 9-6 with the help of an Annie Schechter kill, Mercy would begin pulling away shortly after as the Marlins widened their lead to 20-11 behind two kills and a block from Fisher and back-to-back kills from Lerg to cap off a 5-1 run as Mercy cruised to a 25-14 win to take a 2-1 lead into game four.
Heading into Thursday night, Mercy knew it would have to overcome the size advantage that Seaholm had over the Marlins, but Mercy managed to find plenty of success throughout the night as Fisher tallied 15 kills, while Lerg registered 15 kills of her own and freshman Lauren Hunter added in eight kills on the night.
Hunter said that the deep Mercy attack spread out between three players is a big reason as to why the Marlins are successful up front and were able to have success against the Maples.
“It’s basically how we succeed in our front row,” she said. “Having all of these strong hitters up there, it helps our smaller team succeed.”
In the fourth game, Seaholm jumped ahead and took a 14-10 lead early after a Lauren McLeod kill, which forced a Mercy timeout.
After the timeout, Mercy went on a quick 6-2 run to tie the fourth set up at 16-16 after back-to-back kills from Bella McDonald and Fisher get the Marlins back into the game.
“It was very difficult on this side, because all of their fans were very loud, so they couldn’t even talk amongst themselves,” Vogel said of Seaholm’s start to the fourth game, which forced the timeout. “But they were earning their points, it wasn’t like we made an error. That makes a difference, because they were earning their points and it wasn’t like we made mistakes and that made a difference for us.”
Both teams exchanged the leads shortly after the 16-16 tie as neither team led by more than one point until the end of the match, but an ace from Fisher and kills from Lerg put Mercy up temporarily until Crowley’s ace gave the Marlins the lead for good.
Fisher said the energy late in the match was something that helped fuel her and her teammates late.
“The energy and the tension was up and we fed off of that,” she said. “We’re not usually a high-energy team, but towards the end, it really helped us push through.”
Mercy will now turn its attention to Romeo on Tuesday night with a spot in the Class A semifinal in Battle Creek on the line.