Source: MI Prep Zone
Author: Dan Fenner
WEST BLOOMFIELD — Farmington Hills Mercy coach Loretta Vogel admitted she was nervous all day ahead of her team’s appearance in a Class A district final on Thursday.
There was little worry on the Marlins’ bench, however, even after dropping the first set to Farmington Hills Harrison, 25-21. Mercy made an effective defensive switch to contain the Hawks’ top hitters and win the next three sets, 25-18, 25-15, 25-19, for a four-game victory.
Through to the regional semifinals next week once again, the Marlins program has now won 16 consecutive district titles.
Harrison trailed early in the first game, but rallied to tie the score midway through and eventually steal the set – a feat few teams have managed against Mercy during its long string of success in the district round.
“We ran a different defense and we struggled with it playing (Harrison), so in the second game, we changed everything up,” Vogel said. “We call it a dig-defense where we play a little deeper because (Harrison’s Mikel Coleman and Stefanie Jankiewicz) are very effective. In the second game we switched everything to a different kind of defense and right away we were getting (results).”
The Marlins (55-13-1) took the second and third sets with relative ease, getting out to early leads and holding them throughout.
“I felt like we wanted it, but we were overzealous, which caused us to make some errors,” Hawks coach Mike Love said.
Trying to extend its season, Harrison leapt out to a 4-0 start in the fourth set, but Mercy quickly regrouped to surge ahead. The Hawks were as close as one point, down 17-16, later in the game, but the Marlins closed them off to secure victory.
“I thought Lauren Hunter was huge for us as an attacker,” Vogel said. “I thought Kennedy (Kuffner) came through and some of our other people, Jordyn Kreucher, put some special attacks together right when we needed it and (Harrison) didn’t expect it.”
Harrison’s season wraps up with a 39-13-2 record. The Hawks finished as the runner-up in the OAA White division to West Bloomfield, but got some revenge on Wednesday by knocking the Lakers out in the district semifinal.
“Each year I’ve been at Harrison, we’ve definitely gotten better, regardless of losing key players,” Love said. “We’ve definitely had people come in to step up and filled those positions, which caused us to get better.
“I always think when you lose key players, your (next) season is going to be a growing season where you’ll struggle to get wins, but we rallied around and played well as a team. I’m really proud of all my girls tonight.”