Mercy wins Catholic league title

October 13, 1994|By Steven Kivinski | Steven Kivinski,Contributing Writer

With his roster loaded with seniors and the rest of the Catholic League teams rebuilding , Mercy second-year coach Jerry Hulla knew expectations would be high for his Sharpshooters in 1994.

"Everyone was telling us that this was our year and that put a lot of pressure on us," said Hulla, after watching his team capture the Catholic League regular-season title with a 16-14, 15-4, 15-7 win over visiting rival Archbishop Spalding.

"The girls have been playing exceptionally well and I think it's because they want to win so bad."

Or, maybe they just hate to lose.

The Sharpshooters (5-1) hadn't lost a game at home all season and they were in danger of ending that streak in Game 1 before senior outside-hitter Meg Kline came to the rescue with back-to-back kills.

Senior Rachael Grob ended it with a game-winning serve.

"I was worried that we would come out too up and I didn't want us to get nervous in tight situations and we didn't," said Hulla.

"That's the difference between this year's team and last year's. Last year, we played with just as much intensity, but this year we've learned to focus the energy and play better."

The Sharpshooters (4-2) played much better in the second game and some communication breakdowns and poor serving by the Cavaliers made things easier.

The hosts went ahead 10-2 on an ace by Kline, and two blocks by Tricia Henry widened the margin .

Spalding, which lost to Mercy in four games early in the season, took a 7-6 lead in Game 3 after a block by Erika Shepard, but that was as close as the visitors would get.

The Sharpshooters, who will be top seed in next week's league tournament, got excellent serving down the stretch from Grob and some solid back-line play from Lisa Rosenberger, a junior who was brought up from the junior varsity last week.

"Our serve receiving really hurt us today and our serving didn't help," said Cavaliers coach Linda Taylor. "You can't serve like we did and keep handing the ball over to a team as good as Mercy and expect to win.

"Mercy has come a long way over the past couple of years and just about everyone around the league knew that this was their year."

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