By Conor Revell
Mercy’s young volleyball team has been on fire ever since upsetting top-ranked Sacred Heart two weeks ago.
The defending state champion Jaguars continued their success with a 25-10, 25-9, 25-9 thrashing of North Bullitt in the Sixth Region semifinals Wednesday night at Valley High School.
“I think it’s a combination of things,” Mercy head coach Matt Thomerson said. “That win was big for us. I think that gave the girls a bit of confidence that we are in this and we can play with anybody. Sacred Heart is an amazing team and they’re No. 8 in the entire nation. You’ve got to give Sacred Heart a bit of respect. Our JV team is coming off an undefeated season with a lot of young players there and I think some of the players from that have spilled over to this team. The young players are stepping up.”
North Bullitt’s only lead came when it went up 1-0 in the third game. The third-ranked Jaguars scored the next six points to take control.
It was Mercy setter Morgan Elmore’s 140th career win, and with her game-high 38 assists, she now has a whopping 1,238 in her career.
“You have to play with a lot of focus,” Elmore said. “We just play on our own time and work on our skills a little bit and not worry so much about the pace of the game. We needed to work on and focus on our attack.”
Madison Mudd led the Jaguars (28-8) with 14 kills and Isabel Salameh had 10. Mercy finished with 44 kills, 39 more than North Bullitt.
“I think that Sacred Heart win gave us the confidence that we really needed,” Mudd said. “We are peaking at the right time around State. It has given us the biggest push that we needed to drive and motivate us to go far.”
Lexi Sheehan led the Eagles (22-13) with two kills. Taylor Stayton, Megan Eskridge and Emily Rubles each had one.
Kelly O’Neil led the Jaguars with 14 digs and also recorded three aces. Salameh had four blocks.
“We know that we are kind of the favorite in the Sixth Region,” Thomerson said. “But at the same time we have stuff that we can work on. We put our girls on a clock so that we can time them and play our style of game. We play a faster-paced game than them (North Bullitt), so we kind of try to create our own game on our side of the floor.”
Mercy will take on Butler in the championship match at 8 p.m. Thursday at Valley.