Source: MI Prep Zone
Author: MARK H. STOWERS
FARMINGTON – Freshman Jessica Mruzik had 16 kills and seven aces to lead Farmington Hills Mercy to a sweep of crosstown rival Harrison in the District 21 volleyball championship on Friday.
Mercy (42-9 overall) prevailed 25-16, 25-15 and 25-22 in the hard-fought match. Marlins head coach Loretta Vogel knew her team was ready but that Harrison wouldn’t give up.
“They are pretty disciplined,” Vogel said. “There were a couple areas where I thought we let Harrison catch up with us. In the end service matters, passing matters. Sometimes with a team like Harrison the ball comes back differently. Somewhat unorthodox at times. And we need to watch what they are doing.”
Harrison held a seven-point lead in the third game, 22-15, but couldn’t hold on.
“I told my two seniors that this is the last game of your high school career and we need to rally around it,” coach Mike Love said. “I think we got too excited and caused errors.”
Harrison finishes the season at 24-16-3.
“We beat some good teams but lost to some OK teams. We were just inconsistent at times,” Love said. “We played a great game today and we were trying to match up with their big hitters but Mercy is a great team and Loretta coaches them very well. They stay very poised.”
Junior Lauren Hunter had 11 kills and freshman Kayla Shields supplied 14 digs for the Marlins.
“We did a really nice job today adjusting,” Mruzik said. “Stefanie Jankiewicz for Harrison is a great player and I thought we did a really nice job of adjusting to her. As a team, I thought we played really well and I’m excited to see what the rest of the playoffs has for us.”
Mercy led throughout the first two games, steadily building its advantage. But the third game was much closer.
Harrison found a groove and took the lead at 5-4, lost it briefly at 6-5 and then after tying at 9-9, built a seven-point lead at 22-15. But Mercy dug deep, adjusted and chipped away at the lead and tied the game 22-22 before taking the final three points to secure the district title.
“I tried to say to the girls by the third game they’ll make some changes. We didn’t maintain our consistency and counter that change,” Vogel said. “But they really backed up defensively and our middle started tipping and that threw them off.”
For Harrison, Jankiewicz finished with 24 digs and 14 kills, Cassidy Schuetz had 15 assists. Jenna Khoury contributed 18 digs while Elizabeth Leonard added 13 digs.