Top-ranked Cincinnati Mother of Mercy handles Dublin Scioto

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Mercy 3, Dublin Scioto 0
The Cincinnati Mercy High School volleyball team is a step closer to its ultimate goal. The Bobcats advanced to the Division I Region 3 finals following a
sweep of Dublin Scioto Wednesday night at Hilliard Davidson High School. Mercy, the state’s top-ranked team, cruised 25-18, 25-21, 25-13. The Bobcats (25-1) will oppose Bishop Watterson (25-1) in Saturday’s regional final at Davidson.


HILLIARD – The Mercy High School volleyball team is a step closer to its ultimate goal.

The Bobcats advanced to the Division I Region 3 finals following a sweep of Dublin Scioto Wednesday night at Hilliard Davidson High School.

Mercy, the state’s top-ranked team, cruised 25-18, 25-21, 25-13.

The Bobcats (25-1) will oppose Bishop Watterson (25-1) in Saturday’s regional final at Davidson.

The match is slated to begin at 2 p.m.

Watterson defeated Dublin Coffman 25-18, 25-23, 25-16 in Wednesday’s other regional semifinal at Davidson.

“We’re familiar with Watterson,” Mercy coach Denise Harvey said. “They’re a very strong program; they’re a very strong team. We have our work cut out for us. We have two days of practice to get prepared, so we’re going to work hard.”

Mercy, which was the state runner-up to champion Mount Notre Dame last season, is seeking its fourth state title.

The Eagles are looking for their first final four berth.

Mercy fell behind early against Scioto in game one, 2-0, but stormed back to take a 7-2 lead. Junior Stephanie Vorherr served the first seven points to fuel the comeback.

Seniors Michelle James and Missy Harpenau then teamed up to help seal the game one win.

James set up Harpenau for a kill and 19-12 advantage, and Mercy closed out the opener on a James’ pass to Emily Cosker for a kill.

Upset-minded Scioto (21-6) put up a fight in game two, taking leads of 8-5 and 9-6.

The Bobcats pulled even at 9-9 on James’ kill and then took the lead for good in the match at 12-11 on another James’ pass to Vorherr for a kill.

James and Vorherr later teamed up for the game-clinching point.

Mercy moved in for the kill in game three, opening a 12-3 cushion.

James’ pass to Vorherr helped close out the game and match.

“When you get to the regional level, the top 16 teams in the state, you expect good competition,” Harvey said. “I scouted (Scioto), so I knew what to expect. They had a nice crowd here. We were making some errors early on and then we just kind of sharpened up, we got our bearings and we started to get a lot more aggressive.”

James led the Bobcats with 38 assists, 11 digs, five kills and two aces.

“The match was really intense,” James said. “We worked really hard for this. We’ve been practicing. We’ve been trying out best to get game plans and everything. We’ve been working on our defense. We’re just trying to prepare for the next game.”

Harpenau had 18 kills and 13 digs, and Kayla McWilliams chipped in with 12 digs.

Ally Nagle (12) and Caroline Simpson (9) combined for 21 kills for Scioto.

“We try not to focus on rankings because they are subjective, but when they play like that I look forward to seeing them win a state championship,” Scioto coach Scott Nelson said. “They’re so well balanced. The ball control is phenomenal. There are very few clean kills; they’re getting touches on everything and their offense is just faster than anything we’ve come up against this year.”

Mercy will now set its sights on Watterson.

“We scrimmaged them at the beginning of the year,” Watterson coach Charles Gleich said. “They were state runner-up last year and they have several state championships. We’ve never been to a final four. They have the tradition behind them and some great athletes. Our goal is to get to the state final four and certainly our goal was to get to the game that we’re coming into against them. We can’t ask for anything more than that. The opportunity to play a great team is why you play our sport.”

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