Freshmen Lauren Myrick and Jayme Scott combined for 19 kills and the Jaguars finished with nine aces to romp past Butler 25-7, 25-12, 25-8 in Thursday’s Sixth Region Tournament final at Valley High School.
“I don’t think we’re at our best yet, but we’re playing like a team,” first-year Mercy coach Matt Thomerson said. “I think we’ll be at our best when we need to be.”
Ranked No. 3 in the state by the Kentucky Volleyball Coaches Association, Mercy (30-7) will face 15th Region champion Allen Central at 2 p.m. next Friday in the first round of the state tournament at Valley.
The Jaguars were in complete control Thursday, thanks in part to a serving attack led by junior Kelly O’Neil (five aces) and senior Madalon Simpson (four aces).
GALLERY | Mercy sweeps Butler
“We’ve been working a lot on that in practice, really hitting our zones,” Simpson said. “I think that’s a good sign moving forward to be able to consistently hit those. That can really be a game-changer.”
Senior Alyssa Cosgrove had six kills to lead Butler (28-9), which was playing in a regional final for the first time since 2002.
Coach Kirsten Snyder said her team didn’t respond well to Mercy’s speed on offense.
“I think maybe their nerves got the best of them,” said Snyder. “It was like we were trying so hard to find an answer. … I’m just so proud of them for coming this far.”
Butler’s top moment Thursday came in the early going, as a Lindsey Howell ace and a Cosgrove kill gave the Bearettes a 5-2 lead in the first set.
But Mercy dominated from there, scoring 23 of the final 25 points in the set. O’Neil had three straight aces during one stretch.
Butler led 3-2 in the second set and 3-0 in the third, but Mercy easily pulled away in both for the victory. Myrick had 10 kills and Scott nine to lead the Jaguars.
Now it’s on to the state tournament, where Mercy will try to win back-to-back titles for the first time since 2008-09.
Mercy will enter with an eight-match winning streak that included a three-set sweep of No. 2-ranked Sacred Heart on Oct. 15.
Jason Frakes can be reached at (502) 582-4046 and [email protected]