Source: Hometown Life
Author: Dan O'Meara
When everything seemed to be going South Lyon’s way, Farmington Hills Mercy managed to steal the momentum and win a Class A regional volleyball match Tuesday night.
The Lions won the fourth game, 25-21, and tied the match at two sets apiece with an awesome display of hitting, but the Marlins rebounded to win the decisive fifth set, 15-7.
“In the fifth game, we served them off,” Mercy coach Loretta Vogel said. “They were out of system. They didn’t have the attack at all.
“We literally took our block off. ‘Don’t even go up with it.’ I felt serving changed everything for us. I think that took them out of their game.”
The Marlins (56-13-1) will play tournament host and No. 1-ranked Novi in the championship match at 7 p.m. Thursday.
Mercy won the first and third games, 26-24 and 25-19. South Lyon prevailed in the second, 25-21, and was on a roll going into the fifth.
“We spun the lineup 180 for the fourth game,” Lions coach Tom Teeters said. “That gave us a different matchup and helped us a lot.
“We lost the third, so we just wanted to make a change. Their three players saw a different three of ours. The three they saw last game were in the back row, and they had to make other adjustments.
“I don’t think they caught on quick enough, and it allowed us to get into that fifth game.”
Senior middle Jessica Ignace led the South Lyon attack in the fourth set and was complemented by the play of senior Mikayla Monk and junior Samantha Halaby.
“We rotated our lineup to match up differently with them, and Tom did the same thing,” Vogel said. “I didn’t think he would, and that makes a difference on matchups. We tried everything and we struggled to stop (Monk and Ignace).”
Mercy found the solution in the fifth set with its serving and some well-placed tips by junior Bella McDonald to go with big hits by sophomore Lauren Hunter.
“Those were crucial, cruical points by Bella,” Vogel said. “You don’t have to hit it hard all the time. You just have to find where no one is.”
Senior Sloan Horejsi also drew praise from Vogel for her serving in the last game and her play as the libero.
Horejsi was a game-day replacement for senior Colleen Hadley, who was ill and not with the team Tuesday.
“We needed to change things, but we’ve been doing that all season,” Vogel said of the lineup. “It’s been that kind of season for us. They’re either sick or injured.
“Honestly, I think that helped us tonight. People stepped up and made a difference. I thought Sloan was fabulous. I’m just thrilled with what she did for us tonight.
“I thought Sloan played a senior. She played to win, and that’s what we said in Game 5. ‘We practice all year to be in this situation. Play to win.’”
Ignace and Monk had 24 kills apiece. Junior Bridget Donahue had six block assists, Monk five. The Lions (21-15-1) had a team hitting percentage of .224.
“I knew they could hit, but I didn’t think they’d come out quite like that,” Vogel said. “They rarely missed until the end when we served stronger and got them out of system. They were not as successful with the ball being off the net.”
“We were setting outside, so the sytem wasn’t as important as long as we could set the ball, period,” Teeters said. “We had to bump over free balls. We weren’t trying to run middles as much as we were trying to set outside and get our big hitters involved.
“I think we just used them a lot, and Jess probably got a little tired. She was hitting balls just a couple inches out of bounds. They were this far from the line. Jess had a great year all the way around.”
South Lyon junior setter Hannah Barton had 59 assists. Callie Harper had 23 digs, Barton and Brooke Mrocka 17 apiece and Liberty Romanik 10.
“I’m really happy with the season overall,” Teeters said. “I thought we improved throughtout. We made four or five major lineup changes. The girls were part of that decision making. They bought into it and played well.”