volleyball champion Saturday when Cincinnati Mt. Notre Dame faced
Cincinnati Mother of Mercy in the Division I state final at Wright
State University’s Nutter Center. In a rematch of the 2006 final, it was Mercy that authored a different
outcome, extracting some revenge for last year’s loss with a 16-25,
25-12, 26-28, 25-19, 15-11 victory.
In a rematch of the 2006 final, it was Mercy that authored a different outcome, extracting some revenge for last year’s loss with a 16-25, 25-12, 26-28, 25-19, 15-11 victory. It was the third meeting between the schools this season and the third time the match went five games. The teams split during the regular season, with MND (24-5) handing Mercy (28-1) its only loss of the year.
“We’re happy we get to sit here and say we beat Mt. Notre Dame,” Mercy head coach Denise Harvey said. “It’s a reversal of roles from last year and that makes it sweeter.”
With the win the GGCL claimed its 12th D-I title in 15 years and the Bobcats became the fifth team from the GGCL Scarlett Division with a title this century, joining MND (2006), Seton (2005), St. Ursula Academy (2003) and Ursuline Academy (2001).
In all, the GGCL has captured 32 of a possible 66 state titles in Ohio’s two largest divisions in the 33-year history of the state tournament.
Mercy, which was making its third state appearance in four years, won its first title since 1982 and fourth overall thanks to turning up the aggression in the fourth and fifth games.
Down 2-1 entering the fourth game, Mercy ran out to a 9-1 lead and never lead the rest of the game by less than four points. MND did score 10 of the game’s final 14 points, but a 21-9 deficit was too much to overcome.
“I feel like in the fourth game when we started to make the run to comeback we were playing aggressively and that’s what I wanted them to hold onto in the fifth game,” Cougars head coach Donna Mechley said. “But towards the end of the fifth game we weren’t swinging hard all the time and I think that showed.”
“I think we picked our aggressiveness up (in games 4 and 5),” Harvey said. “We were serving aggressively and we were firing forward. They (MND) got rocked back a little.”
In the fifth game with the score knotted 10-10, Mercy rattled of four straight points and eventually won on a kill from Michelle James.
“I feel like our styles of play are different and I felt like which ever one of us could establish our style of play today would be the winner,” Harvey said. “Both teams went through stretches where they couldn’t execute but at the end we were able to play our style and scored points in Game 5 when we needed to.”
Mercy was led by senior standout Missy Harpenau who tallied a game-high 27 kills.
Harpenau played the game with a bandage on her face after suffering an injury in pregame when a teammate’s teeth split the bridge of her nose open. The cut did not affect her – or her teammates.
“I think the difference between this year and last year was that their secondary players improved,” Mechley said. “Last year we were able to focus on Harpeneau and have a double block on her and literally leave the other hitters on a single block. This year we weren’t very successful at that. This year their other hitters had more kills.”
Junior Stephanie Vorherr added 16 kills for the winners, while seniors Kelly O’Conner and Emily Cosker chipped in 11 and nine, respectively.
MND was led by its own senior sensation Rachel Adams. One of the country’s top prep players, Adams had 24 kills, while junior Jen Meyer and sophomore Marissa Otto each added nine. Senior Rachel Rohlfs had 44 assists.
The loss was just MND’s second in seven state championship game appearances.
“We won the GGCL and we beat every team in Cincinnati we played,” Harvey said. “We came up here with a purpose. We came here to win state and to prove to everyone – not only ourselves – that Mercy volleyball deserved the No. 1 ranking.”
Said Mechley: “I bet if we played 10 times we would go 5-5.”